The Pacific Northwest’s Leading Life Sciences Association Represented at White House Business Council Conference

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) was represented by Patti McKinnell Davis, Director, Public Affairs, and members of the Pacific Northwest’s life sciences community at the White House Business Council in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2012.

The White House Business Council consists of senior officials from the White House and across the Administration who meet regularly with business leaders from around the country. Since April, the White House Business Council has held over 500 events with business owners and entrepreneurs in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The council’s purpose in these discussions is two-fold: 1) to get feedback on what the Administration can be doing more of - or less of - to help create jobs; and 2) to make sure that businesses are aware of the programs and resources that can help their businesses grow and succeed.

The White House Business Council meeting was held in the old Executive Office Building, where most White House staffers are located. Thirty-six business leaders representing Seattle’s business community, including life sciences and education, participated in the meeting. WBBA members represented in the life sciences included Monty Montoya, President and CEO, SightLife; Brian Glaister, President and CEO, Cadence Biomedical; and Anson Fatland, Associate Vice President of Economic Development, Washington State University.

Several senior White House staff and agency staff spoke on topics including the current state of the economy; the need for investment in infrastructure; education and workforce; difficulties with access to capital for small and emerging companies and companies looking to expand; health care costs; the vintage IT systems at many government agencies and a program to help companies hire veterans.

Concerns regarding FDA reform and the need for predictability, transparence and accountability on the FDA side were raised. President Obama is in conversation with the FDA regarding necessary reforms. In August 2011, the FDA announced a new “Entrepreneurs in Residence” program. The intent of the Entrepreneurs in Residence program is to discover ways for the FDA and small businesses to work together to get new products on the market both safely and quickly. Working with Universities, the FDA is creating a Young Entrepreneurs fellowship program for business, engineering and science students interested in working in the medical industry.

Administration staff speaking at this one-day, intensive information-sharing conference included:

  • Ari Matusiak, Executive Director, White House Business Council, White House
  • Mark Doms, Chief Economist, Department of Commerce
  • Greg Nelson, Office of Public Engagement, White House
  • Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Lisa Brown, Executive Director, Government Reorganization Initiative, Office of Management and Budget, White House
  • Peter Rogoff, Assistant Secretary, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces, White House
  • Michael Straumanis, Deputy Assistant to the President, White House
  • Steve VanRoekel, Chief Information Officer, White House

Mr. Glaister shared that, “One of the most valuable discussions concerned access to capital for small and emerging companies, with Marie Johns, Deputy Administration, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Ms. Johns reported on a number of new initiatives at the SBA, including a Microloan program, export loans and a new program investing in early-stage small businesses (SBIC).” Mr. Glaister met later the same day with Senator Marie Cantwell at her Capitol Hill office to report on the White House Business Council meeting and reiterate the importance of access to capital.

The conference ended with a commitment on both sides to stay engaged and work to make progress on the issues raised, including access to capital, reducing unnecessary regulation and streamlining permitting, containing health care costs, investments in infrastructure and education and workforce development, reform at the FDA and hiring veterans.

About the WBBA:

The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association serving the life sciences industry in the state of Washington. It is completely resourced and supported by its members, including organizations engaged in, or supportive of, research, development and commercialization of life science innovation.

The WBBA’s Mission – “Supporting Innovation to Realization. From breakthrough discoveries to better health solutions” – drives its core strategic focus on:

  • Innovation – working closely with and supporting our research institutions, inventors and entrepreneurs to broaden the impact of breakthrough discoveries.
  • Capital – facilitating access to capital, especially early-stage funding and strategic collaboration.
  • Talent – helping to recruit, train and retain the talent needed to grow life sciences in Washington.
  • Environment – ensuring that Washington is a great place to start, grow and retain the organizations needed to remain competitive and prosperous.


Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association
Dennis Kroft, Director of Marketing & Membership, 206-456-9565
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  District of Columbia  Washington

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Education  University  Health  Biotechnology  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Labor  White House/Federal Government  Research  Other Science  FDA  Science  General Health