The 2020 BioMedSA Corral, our annual meeting, was held in a virtual format on Dec. 16, 2020. Ann Beal Salamone, Board Chair, welcomed the participants. She mentioned the city’s actions this year to supply internet access to those who did not have it in order to facilitate education and healthcare. They have initiated an on-the-job training program to help people receive training for new jobs. The healthcare and bioscience industry has shown many strengths during this difficult year. For example, UT Health San Antonio set up their participation in a COVID-19 Remdesivir trial in 5 days, which normally would have taken over 6 months. Of this multi-center trial, San Antonio was one of the largest recruiting sites, and was able to include a diverse population. Clinical Trials of Texas enrolled 850 participants in 5 weeks for another COVID-19 trial using procedural innovations. In 2019, there were over 1400 active clinical trials in San Antonio, showing that this industry is important to our community for many reasons. BioMedSA has targeted this segment of our industry for growth and is working on positioning the industry for national prominence. Another example of ingenuity is Wellmed. Wellmed is headquartered in San Antonio, and has over 800,000 patients. They developed a system for home healthcare for those without internet access or transportation. Companies in SA invented many products and processes to fight COVID-19 showing that our industry is resilient and innovative with a “can-do” attitude. In 2020, Heather Hanson was hired as President of BioMedSA. She is a mechanical engineer show has invented many medical devices and followed them through supply chain issues, clinical trials and regulatory approvals. She has brought BioMedSA to be an action-oriented, accomplishment-driven organization while maintain our key aspect of our mission to be a neutral convener for our life science industry.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg mentioned BioMedSA’s 15 year history. He thanked healthcare and bioscience professionals in San Antonio who worked tirelessly and often at personal risk to develop a vaccine, cure the sick, help the afflicted, and aid the needy. He referenced the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Impact Study that showed a $42B economic impact from the healthcare and bioscience industry, making it the leading industry in San Antonio. He mentioned the impact of BioMedSA in the growth of the industry, and that our educational and research institutions provide a great foundation for the industry.
Judge Nelson Wolff thanked the industry for its work in our community. He mentioned the important role that BioMedSA serves in the support and growth of the life science industry in our community through its sharing of information, programming, working groups, and marketing efforts. He mentioned several rapid accomplishments to address COVID-19 that reflect the ability of our healthcare and bioscience industry to innovate and collaborate for the common good. He noted that in 2019, the US Patent Office published 175 life science patent applications from local inventors, which is a greater number than the total in many states. He encouraged attendees to think about how they can contribute toward the BioMedSA goals for 2021 and be a part of the growth of the industry.
In closing, Ann Beal Salamone announced the 2021 Board and thanked board members, committee chairs, the Executive Committee, and city representatives. The meeting ended with breakfast table conversation in video chat rooms. Attendees discussed workforce plans, advocacy, supply chain needs, international engagement, clinical trials, and the pre-Fiesta financial event. One attendee stated that the meeting was the “absolute best virtual event he has ever been to” due to the interactive nature of the event.
The presentation portion of the event can be viewed here.