BioOhio Leader Dr. Anthony Dennis Announces Retirement

BioOhio Leader Dr. Anthony Dennis Announces Retirement

BioOhio, the bioscience trade association of Ohio and an Ohio Edison Center, announced today that Anthony J. Dennis, Ph.D., will retire from his post as President and CEO. BioOhio’s current Vice President and COO, John F. Lewis Jr., will become the Columbus, OH–based organization’s interim President effective April 15.

A microbiologist, entrepreneur, technology advocate and native Ohioan, Dennis has been leading bioscience initiatives and businesses since receiving his Ph.D. in microbiology from The Ohio State University in 1973. In 2002, Dennis became president of Edison BioTechnology Center, the predecessor organization to BioOhio. He is just the third president in the organization's 26-year history and also the longest serving. Under Dennis’s 11-year leadership, the work of BioOhio’s staff and its regional economic development and bioscience partners has earned Ohio a consistent ranking in the top ten states in the nation in virtually all bioscience industry categories.

As the bioscience industry in Ohio has blossomed in the past decade, the benefits have flowed to Ohio’s economy and its population. In the most recent an annual study completed by researchers at Cleveland State University and BioOhio, the total economic impact of Ohio’s bioscience industry is an estimated $54 billion. Employment in Ohio’s bioscience sector has outpaced general employment in the state by 27% and the rate of start-up company formation has increased ten-fold. Since 2002, BioOhio’s membership has grown five-fold, from 86 to 420 members, closely mirroring Ohio’s bioscience industry growth.

Dennis looks back on these milestones, the growth and the overall performance of BioOhio with pride. “I am truly honored to have worked with so many outstanding and dedicated individuals and organizations, and to have been part of the nationally recognized growth of the Ohio bioscience industry,” said Dennis. “BioOhio is recognized as one of the best bioscience organizations in the industry and I am proud that many of our approaches and programs are now being emulated by others around the country.”

Among other accomplishments, Dennis cites the organization’s active participation in key Ohio initiatives such as the Ohio Third Frontier program as well as the often-copied Ohio Edison Centers, and the formation of the Ohio Health Information Partnership. “I am very pleased to have had a role in these landmark programs,” he said. “But everything and everyone has a season and I decided it is finally time for me to pass the baton to a new leader who will carry the organization forward to new accomplishments.”

Caroline Whitacre, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, The Ohio State University and Chair of the BioOhio Board of Trustees, says, “The relationships that Tony has built over the past 11 years are lasting ones and he has developed strong and enduring programs that have met our members and industry partners needs in countless ways.”

Past Chair of the BioOhio Board, John M. Rice, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Triathlon Medical Ventures, added that “Along with our industry partners, BioOhio has contributed to the achievement of some very impressive results. There are now more than 1,200 companies with more than 1,700 bioscience industry locations in Ohio. Related to capital formation, more than $1.4 billion in angel and venture capital investments have been made since 2004 in Ohio-based companies and nearly 80 biotechnology companies have been attracted to the state. BioOhio, under Tony’s leadership, has contributed mightily to this major statewide impact.”

According to Whitacre, “The professional team in place at BioOhio is dynamic, deeply committed to further advancing the bioscience industry in Ohio in creative and sustaining ways, and will build on Tony’s strong foundational leadership.”

Dennis concluded, “I know I am leaving BioOhio in capable hands and with a bright future. I look forward to supporting the Board, staff and our great industry members in accomplishing even more in the future.”