Another in a series of in-depth Senate seminars on issues expected to be at or near the top of the agenda this legislative session focuses on how Missouri can remain viable in the life sciences industry.

Eighteen State Senators popped in and out of a 90-minute briefing, hearing presentations from three individuals involved in the life sciences field: Doctor Bill Duncan of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute . Gary Clapp of the Institute for Industrial and Applied Life Sciences at Missouri Western State University , and Kelly Gillespie of the Missouri Biotechnology Association .

Duncan called for resources to strengthen the life sciences industry in Missouri: "We need, I think, to cultivate a culture to support the life sciences, coupled with resources to invest – whether that’s in the form of an authority or whatever the mechanism might be. I suspect you could take tobacco funds and perhaps redirect those, somehow, as a possibility, as well."

Clapp spoke of the life sciences know-how that exists in Missouri, adding the state must find ways of turning that knowledge into business opportunities. "This is a key component," said Clapp, "Trying to take this intellectual property and turn it. How do we do that? How do we turn that into a business, in essence?

Gillespie spoke of the need to take research, to commercialize it, and to turn it into jobs that pay well. Gillespie question is quite simple: "Do you have a comprehensive statewide strategy, are you marrying up that research capacity money to the commercialization and putting it in place?"

It is expected that legislation dealing with life sciences and the promotion of the industry will be dealt with by lawmakers during this session of the General Assembly.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)