COLUMBUS, Ohio – At its recent meeting, BioOhio’s Board of Trustees appointed John F. Lewis, Jr. as the new president and CEO of Ohio’s bioscience trade association. Lewis succeeds Anthony J. Dennis, Ph.D., who announced his retirement in April.
Lewis has served in numerous capacities at BioOhio, most recently as chief operating officer and interim president. Lewis also brings significant global experience to the position. Accompanied by two Ohio governors, Lewis has led bioscience-focused trade missions to Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan, France and Israel. In concert with key BioOhio partners, Lewis helped to market Ohio companies internationally as well as to attract global companies to locate new operations in Ohio. Through BioOhio participation in global exhibitions such as BIO, AdvaMed, MEDICA, Biomed Israel, BioJapan, Biotechnica, Beijing International Healthcare Forum, and MD&M West/East, more than 72 companies have been attracted to Ohio in the past six years.
“John brings substantial and diverse experience to the leadership of BioOhio,” said Carol Whitacre, Vice President of Research, The Ohio State University and Chair, BioOhio Board of Trustees.
“In addition to John’s 12 years of experience at BioOhio, his legal and entrepreneurial background will be instrumental in implementing a bold new vision that will lead to an expansion of the organization’s scope. BioOhio’s board believes that John’s leadership is a great asset as we enter a new phase in supporting the significant growth unfolding in Ohio’s bioscience industry.”
Lewis is a Bexley, OH native and graduate of Miami University and Capital University Law School. He is a licensed attorney, an experienced entrepreneur, and a passionate advocate for all things “bio in Ohio.”
“I am proud of the confidence our Board of Trustees demonstrated in me,” said Lewis. “I’m honored to be named BioOhio’s fourth president and I feel the responsibility to extend the great bio foundation built by previous BioOhio presidents Dorothy Baunach, Frank Samuels and of course, Dr. Dennis.”
Over the past 12 years, Lewis has helped raise more than $1.3 billion for Ohio’s emerging bio companies. He is a founding partner of the Ohio TechAngel Fund (OTAF), the largest Angel fund in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. Lewis has assisted in organizational growth of the Fund that features over 330 members and has made 40 investments. Combined OTAF and follow-on investments account for more than $316 million raised over the past nine years with four successful exits.
Other activity and indicators also point to the ongoing growth and impact of the bioscience industry in Ohio. As detailed in the most recent Ohio Bioscience Growth Report, an annual BioOhio study started by Lewis in 2004 and produced in partnership with researchers from Cleveland State University, the total economic impact of Ohio’s bioscience industry is estimated at $54 billion. Over the past decade, employment in Ohio’s bioscience sector has outpaced general employment by 27% and the rate of start-up company formation has increased ten-fold. Since 2002, BioOhio has grown to include 430 members that represent all regions of the state and all major industry sectors.
“The bio industry faces significant disruptions that will affect the long term prospects for organizations as well as individuals,” said Greg Blackmore, chief operating officer for Dayton-based Midmark Corporation. “John’s depth and breadth of experience, especially as an entrepreneur, equip him well to effectively support the current and future needs of Ohio’s bio organizations.”
Lewis shares Blackmore’s view on the need to respond to rapidly changing business and scientific dynamics that continue continually reshape the bioscience and biomedical landscape.
“Ohio’s biomedical organizations have always embraced challenges as a reality,” he said. “They also know that challenges are exciting because they bring tremendous opportunities for new growth.”
“Our job is to help Ohio’s bioscience companies and Ohio’s workers grow quickly and sustainably.”
Founded in 1987, BioOhio is a non-profit membership organization that builds and accelerates bioscience industry, research, and education in Ohio. As a trade association with 430 members, BioOhio is the lead organization for the Ohio bioscience community and is the Ohio affiliate for global bioscience industry organizations including BIO, AdvaMed, PhRMA and MDMA.
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