ABA awarded Flinn grant, names McGarity CEO

October 18, 2005

By Flinn Foundation

The Arizona BioIndustry Association has received a three-year, $600,000 matching grant from the Flinn Foundation to help the growing non-profit organization build its infrastructure through the addition of professional staff, and thus assume a greater leadership role in the development of Arizona’s bioscience sector.

Upon receiving the grant, the ABA Board voted unanimously that Jon W. McGarity, a seasoned pharmaceutical executive and consultant to the bioindustry nationally who has served as the ABA’s board chairman for more than a year, should undertake the new role of president and chief executive officer. Dee Harris, executive director of the Arizona Angels Venture Group, agreed to immediately assume the position of chairman.

“This generous support from the Flinn Foundation recognizes the increasing importance of building a bioscience industry base and support network in the state of Arizona,” said McGarity. “Arizona’s collaborative efforts to advance the life sciences are a critical component of our economic and intellectual future, and promise a bright outlook for our children and grandchildren.”

In partnership with the Flinn Foundation, the ABA will expand efforts to educate Arizona leadership on the importance of the biosciences in Arizona, provide outreach and membership services to Arizona’s existing and emerging base of biotech firms and those that service the industry, and aggressively support Arizona’s growing bioscience industry. The grant, effective immediately, will expand the organization’s infrastructure and add staff members.

“Arizona is effectively positioned to become a national competitor in the emerging biosciences economy,” said Saundra Johnson, Flinn Foundation vice president for strategic development and communications. “Our ultimate success will hinge on Arizona organizations coming together and working in partnership toward a common goal. This grant helps to further a key organization that has made impressive progress and will play an increasingly vital role.”

The grant will help to solidify ABA’s role in the new “virtual coalition” of Arizona organizations that are pooling their abilities and resources to grow Arizona’s bioscience industry. The coalition involves three components:

  • The Flinn Foundation and committees of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap
  • Bioscience trade associations–ABA and its counterpart in Tucson, the Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona (BIO-SA)
  • Regional leadership groups—Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Flagstaff 40.

The Board also voted to install Dr. Michael Mobley, associate director for the Biodesign Institute at ASU, as vice chairman, and Robert E. Kennedy, COO and CFO of Virionics Corporation, as treasurer. C. Diane Bishop will remain the ABA secretary.

The ABA is the state affiliate for the national organization, BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization).