The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) recently released a report, “Bioscience Economic Development in the States: Legislation and Job Creation Best Practices.” Beyond providing a useful summary of current state level offerings, the report also offers interesting insight into trends for continued growth – many of which mirror trends we see in innovative incentive use.
Offerings by state
- 16 states offer matching grants for Phase I and II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to accelerate early stage development.
- 25 states offer tax credits to angel investors who invest in technology companies including the biosciences
- 36 states offer sales tax exemptions on equipment for both research and development (R&D) and manufacturing with several exemptions specifically for biomanufacturing
- 21 states invest state dollars in private venture capital firms that fund small and emerging bioscience companies
- 39 states offer R&D tax credits for early stage research
Innovative sectors such as bioscience are increasingly looking beyond direct financial incentives. We, along with BIO, see specialized services, tailored workforce programs, and innovation partnerships that are part of a biotech ecosystem as best practice offerings to drive growth.
The BIO report notes that economic development trends in the bioscience arena include:
Proximity to academic innovation is a driving influencer. Economic developers and policy makers that can help “integrate entrepreneurship and industry involvement into the university research experience facilitate the path from research to commercialization and help innovative ideas reach the marketplace.”
Public-private partnerships create commercialization centers. States are both providing funding to universities to support technology commercialization and supporting free-standing commercialization centers that provide assistance to create and grow companies.
Workforce initiatives as a priority for industry and state government. States and economic developers are working on a range of workforce development programs, ranging from creating two-year technician degree programs, offering new master and doctoral level programs, and providing skill training for bioscience company employees.
Finally, predictable and stable programs and partnerships are critical to support growth in this and other innovative sectors.