Maryland Will Invest $1.1 Billion In Bioscience Industry

ANNAPOLIS (June 18, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by scientists and researchers at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, on Monday unveiled a new "vision" for the bioscience industry in Maryland. Under the BIO 2020 Initiative, the State of Maryland will invest $1.1 billion in Maryland’s 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.

“The BIO 2020 Initiative is a comprehensive, targeted plan to leverage Maryland’s science and technology assets and nationally acclaimed workforce to attract and grow the bioscience opportunities of tomorrow in Maryland,” said Governor Martin O'Malley. “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.”

The Maryland Bio 2020 Initiative announced by Governor O'Malley includes:

-- 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. The Center will bring together TEDCO’s tech transfer initiatives, DLLR’s industry regulatory functions and various UMD initiatives. Industry experts at the Center will build or expand the state’s relationship with federal labs, universities, and private sector companies.

-- Expanding and Improving Maryland’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit: Under the proposal, Maryland would double its Biotech Investment Tax Credit in FY 2010 and again by 2013, a move that would leverage almost $50 million in private investment for Maryland biotech companies each year. Currently, Maryland’s $6 million Biotech Investment Tax Credit is an effective and highly successful equity-building program that is usually exhausted within months of fund availability each year.

-- Growing Maryland’s Technology Incubator Network: Under Governor O’Malley’s proposal, Maryland will invest $60 million over the next ten years to leverage $120 million in private and federal investment funds and grow Maryland’s incubator network by 50%. A recent study found that there is a strong demand for additional space. Maryland’s incubators comprise more than 453,061 square feet, create more than 14,000 jobs, and provide $104 million in state and local taxes. Additional funds would help expand existing incubators, build new incubator sites, and provide related programs to help Maryland’s small technology companies take their ideas to market.

-- Continuing to Grow Maryland’s Nation-Leading Stem Cell Research Fund: The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund was created in 2006 to promote state-funded stem cell research and cures through grants and loans to public and private entities in the State. Under the Governor’s proposal, Maryland will continue to invest in life-saving stem cell research. The Governor is proposing at least $20 million annually dedicated for this purpose. During the first two years of the O’Malley-Brown administration, the State has invested $42 million in stem cell research. To date, over $36 million and 86 research applications have been funded. The Fund is the third largest state funded program in the nation.

Many 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 Biosciences in Maryland. The Board is planning on publishing a full report later this year.

“Governor O’Malley’s announcement is an expression of the bold vision he has for the future development of life sciences in Maryland,” said H. Thomas Watkins, President and CEO of Human Genome Sciences, and Chair of the Life Sciences Advisory Board. “We are excited by the Governor’s strong support for the work of the Life Sciences Advisory Board. Our members look forward to the completion of a comprehensive strategic plan on schedule later this year, and to continuing to work with Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly to make Maryland an even stronger and more competitive leader in biotechnology and the life sciences than it already is.”

“The Governor’s continued support of stem cell research through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund has already had a substantial impact here at Johns Hopkins, leading to such breakthroughs as the generation of pluripotent stem cells from patients with sickle cell disease and from patients with brain disorders,” said Stephen Desiderio, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology and genetics, director of the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences and member of the Institute for Cell Engineering at Hopkins. “We applaud the Governor’s commitment to transformative investment in Maryland’s life sciences.”

Governor O’Malley’s announcement today comes just weeks after the Governor led an economic development mission to Israel, which resulted in the announcement of two leading Israeli companies planning to open offices in Maryland, and Israel’s largest bioscience company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, reaffirming its commitment to the State. Later this week, Governor O’Malley will join a host of Maryland bioscience companies in San Diego for BIO 2008, the largest life sciences conference in the world.

In addition to the component above, the Maryland Bio 2020 Initiative also includes:

-- Increasing development funds for life science facilities: DBED has entered into a public-private partnership which will combine $1 million in State funds with $2 million in local investment. Together, this investment will leverage $100 million for building and improving life science facilities throughout Maryland.

-- Making New Investments in Science, Research and Technology Initiatives: Initiatives for future and present support include: UMB (Health Sciences Facility III); UMB Howard Hall (Medical Research Facility); Johns Hopkins Science and Technology Park, EBDI; UMBI Center for Agricultural & Environmental Biotechnology (CAEB); Montgomery College (Germantown) Bioscience Center; and the TEDCO/Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

-- Increasing Maryland’s Technology Transfer Programs: Maryland’s technology transfer and commercialization programs provide funding to small and start-up companies. The Governor’s proposal includes funding to help universities and federal labs get their innovations to market, and would allow the State to significantly increase the number of start-up companies coming out of our universities and research institutions, leveraging $3.75 billion in private and federal investment.

-- Expanding Nanotechnology Investments: Maryland is one of the leading research centers in the U.S. for Nanotechnology and, in particular, Nano/Biotechnology. By offering more grants and faculty attraction resources, the State of Maryland can leverage the vast opportunities that exist with this field, which is expected to permeate all technology industries in the years ahead. Now in its third year, the Maryland Nano/Biotechnology Initiative has provided research grants and faculty attraction resources to the University System of Maryland.

-- Increasing Intellectual Property Valuation and Protection Services: To sustain growth of Maryland’s bioscience industry, Maryland must capture every intellectual property opportunity that arises from its R&D intensive environment. Many Maryland start-ups cannot afford professional legal services for intellectual property valuation and acquisition. Under Governor O’Malley’s proposal, Maryland will expand a University of MD/School of Law program to work with Maryland entrepreneurs and start-ups to validate and protect their intellectual property.

-- Enhancing Maryland’s Venture Fund: The fund currently provides challenge grants to start-up companies and makes equity investments in more established companies. By increasing public investment by $152 million by 2019, Maryland can leverage nearly $2 billion in private equity to help these companies succeed. Through the Venture Fund, the State has already made approximately 50 investments in bioscience companies and they have leveraged 15 times the value of our investments through our network of venture capital partners.

Source: Governor O'Malley's Office

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