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O’Malley’s $1.1 Billion Biotech Initiative Applauded

  • By Ike Wilson
    News-Post Staff

    Gov. Martin O’Malley’s recent announcement of a $1.1 billion biotechnology initiative will further boost Maryland as a competitive technology hub, several local business people agreed. Under the BIO 2020 Initiative, announced by O’Malley on June 16, Maryland will invest $1.1 billion in its bioscience industry over the next 10 years — the largest per capita investment in the biosciences made by any state in the country — to attract and grow biotechnology companies in Maryland.

    Frederick Innovative Technology Center Inc. executive director Michael Dailey and local government officials met the governor at a biotechnology convention minutes after he made the announcement at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, where scientists are working with stem cells. Dailey called the governor’s initiative “a tremendous opportunity for bio-tech entrepreneurs in Maryland.” The initiative includes increased support for start-up companies as well as increased support for incubators in Maryland. “I believe this support will establish Maryland as the premiere destination for new bio-tech companies, and we are all looking forward to the growth and increased employment this initiative will generate,” Dailey said. FITCI will use the additional funding to attract new clients to the center, and support them and existing clients, and increase the size of its facilities, Dailey said. “With the governor’s plan, I believe FITCI is in a very favorable position to continue its success,” Dailey said.

    Patrick Haley, Chief Executive Officer of BridgePath Scientific, said Monday he was thrilled about prospects the initiative will bring to Maryland. “The proposed breakdown in funding between marketing efforts, academic institutions, private companies, state-funded grants and investments, incubator program enhancements, targeted research areas, such as stem cell and nanotechnology, life science, tax incentives and the like is an excellent blend,” Haley said. Haley said Maryland is already a leader in the biotech marketplace due to the concentration of life-science firms, research and development, academic institutions with strong science programs, and supportive governmental environments at the state and local levels. He said the existing amount of federal research dollars awarded to Maryland schools and universities, the large number of federal governmental agencies located in the state and a highly-trained workforce are also significant factors. “If the funding is distributed as proposed, it will leverage the state’s talents and strengths,” Haley said. “Bio 2020 is a natural fit for Maryland. I am pleased to see that a program is in the works that matches up so nicely with the state’s core competencies. I believe this program and others like it are a sound fiduciary decision.

    In a press release, O’Malley said the BIO 2020 Initiative will leverage Maryland’s science and technology assets and workforce to attract and grow bioscience opportunities in Maryland. “Maryland is already nicknamed the ‘home of the genome’ and now must work to strengthen our position as a national and world leader in the research and development of ‘personalized medicine,’ groundbreaking new science which holds within it the potential to reshape the landscape of 21st century medicine,” O’Malley said in the statement. Key elements of the BIO 2020 Initiative are based on early recommendations from the Maryland’s Life Sciences Advisory Board, which began work last fall on a statewide strategic plan for bioscience in Maryland. The board is planning on publishing a full report later this year.$1.1 billion biotechnology initiative will further boost Maryland as a competitive technology hub, several local business people agree.

    Under the BIO 2020 Initiative, announced by O’Malley June 16, Maryland will invest $1.1 billion in its bioscience industry over the next 10 years — the largest per capita investment in the biosciences made by any state in the country — to attract and grow biotechnology companies in Maryland.

    Frederick Innovative Technology Center Executive Director Michael Dailey and local government officials met the governor at a biotechnology convention minutes after he made the announcement at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, where scientists are working with stem cells. Dailey called the governor’s initiative “a tremendous opportunity for bio-tech entrepreneurs in Maryland.”

    The initiative includes increased support for start-up companies as well as increased support for incubators in Maryland. “I believe this support will establish Maryland as the premiere destination for new bio-tech companies and we are all looking forward to the growth and increased employment this initiative will generate,” Dailey said. FITCI will use the additional funding to attract new clients to the center, and support them and existing clients, and increase the size of its facilities, Dailey said. “With the governor’s plan, I believe FITCI is in a very favorable position to continue its success,” Dailey said.

    Patrick Haley, chief executive officer of BridgePath Scientific, said Monday he was excited about prospects the initiative will bring to Maryland. “The proposed breakdown in funding between marketing efforts, academic institutions, private companies, state-funded grants and investments, incubator program enhancements, targeted research areas, such as stem cell and nanotechnology, life science, tax incentives, and the like is an excellent blend,” Haley said. Haley said Maryland is already a leader in the biotech marketplace due to the concentration of life-science firms, research and development, academic institutions with strong science programs, and supportive governmental environments at the state and local levels. He said the existing amount of federal research dollars awarded to Maryland schools and universities, the large number of federal governmental agencies located in the state and a highly-trained workforce are also significant factors. “If the funding is distributed as proposed, it will leverage the state’s talents and strengths,” Haley said. “Bio 2020 is a natural fit for Maryland. I am pleased to see that a program is in the works that matches up so nicely with the state’s core competencies. I believe this program and others like it are a sound fiduciary decision.”

    In a press release, O’Malley said the BIO 2020 Initiative will leverage Maryland’s science and technology assets and workforce to attract and grow bioscience opportunities in Maryland. “Maryland is already nicknamed the ‘home of the genome’ and now must work to strengthen our position as a national and world leader in the research and development of ‘personalized medicine,’ groundbreaking new science which holds within it the potential to reshape the landscape of 21st century medicine,” O’Malley said in the statement. — Key elements of the BIO 2020 Initiative are based on early recommendations from the Maryland’s Life Sciences Advisory Board, which began work last fall on a statewide strategic plan for bioscience in Maryland. The board is planning on publishing a full report later this year.

    AT A GLANCE Bio 2020 Initiative:

  • The creation of the “Maryland Biotechnology Center” — a “one stop shop” to showcase and support biotechnology innovation and entrepreneurship in Maryland, and consolidate various State, academic and private sector ventures;
  • Expanding and improving Maryland’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit;
  • Growing Maryland’s technology incubator network;
  • Continuing to grow the state’s Stem Cell Research Fund created in 2006 to promote state-funded stem cell research and cures through grants and loans to public and private entities in the state.

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