Four states saw significant growth of more than 500 jobs within a decade, and West Virginia was one of them, Bittenbender said. He said the trends in the biosciences industry are "very positive" in the state and have a chance to continue to grow.
The biosciences industry is "powerful" for economic development, he said, because it has high-paying jobs.
"It's so important that states engage bioscience technology and realize the importance it has," Bittenbender said. "Failure and risk are inherently built into what we do and we need entrepreneurs who can handle these risks."
Bryan Brown, executive director of the Biosciences Association of West Virginia, which hosted Thursday's conference, said West Virginians shouldn't be afraid of failure when it comes to investing time and money in the biosciences industry.
Diagnostic Hybrids wouldn't be as successful as it is today if Scholl had given up, he said.
"We as a state cannot be afraid of failure," Brown said. "This industry creates something from nothing and we need to understand that it takes time to be successful. There's a mindset we need to change."
West Virginia has invested money in the industry by supporting its students, who are "key to bioscience in West Virginia," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who spoke during the conference's luncheon.
The state Legislature created the West Virginia Research Trust Fund in 2008 to support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in areas such as energy, biotechnology, engineering and environmental science.
The trust fund, also referred to as "Bucks for Brains," matches millions of dollars in private contributions for research with public funds to Marshall University and West Virginia University.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.