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John Swisher Honored as Life Sciences Champion

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BioCrossroads Board of Directors named John Swisher, founder of JBS United, the 2016 winner of the August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year Award, a prestigious honor named in tribute to BioCrossroads’ late Chairman August Watanabe, at today’s Indiana Life Sciences Summit.BioCrossroads presents the Watanabe Award annually to an individual or organization that has made or enabled unique achievements in the development and promotion of Indiana’s life sciences research, educational or economic advancement.

JBS United, originally focused on swine research and pork production economics, has developed the largest swine nutrition research farm system in the U.S.’s animal nutrition industry. Swisher’s keen sense for emerging market trends and investment in research led to the creation of a system that would solve complex nutrition and production challenges for large pork producers across Indiana, the United States and around the world. Since founding JBS United in 1956, Swisher has cultivated a culture of innovation that over the years has transformed the way commercial pork producers do business and also revolutionized the industry. Some of his achievements include engagement in international joint ventures, investment in leading agtech companies, and donating much needed protein for underserved Indiana communities.

Over the last 20 years, JBS United has transitioned to a biotech-oriented nutrition company, which has developed FDA approved next-generation feed enzymes that have garnered high global market share for swine and poultry feeds. “Ag-focused technologies form a leading component of Indiana’s diverse life sciences industry, and over the past 60 years, John Swisher has become an international icon for what it means to be a reputable, effective and visionary agbiosciences entrepreneur,” said David L. Johnson, President and CEO of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and BioCrossroads. “He truly understands the importance of investing in the best people, research, and technology to spur innovation.”

Today, JBS United’s areas of expertise lie in research-based animal nutrition products, biotechnology applications in feed enzymes and microbials, livestock production, animal health products for swine reproductive efficiency and web-based data management systems for traceability applications in livestock production. Led by Swisher, more than 300 employees work together to develop some of the most extensive swine research facilities and capabilities in the world.

“John Swisher is undeniably a life sciences champion,” said Beth Bechdol, President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, a state initiative focused on the agbiosciences sector. “His innovative approach to research and business has not only revolutionized agricultural production practices, but has more importantly led to technologies and solutions that help address our collective challenge of producing more food with fewer resources.”