GBC’s Don Fry praises governor’s $1.1 billion bioscience plan for Maryland

Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry praised Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposal to quadruple the amount of Maryland’s available biotech investment tax credits by 2013 and to invest $1.1 billion over the next 10 years to grow the state’s bioscience industry.

Other elements of O’Malley’s “Bio 2020” proposal unveiled in June include expanding Maryland’s biotech incubator network, increasing the state’s stem cell research funding, expanding state venture investment and stepped-up support for the state’s nano-biotechnology initiative.

The plan would also continue strong state support for developing bioparks in the Baltimore region and in Montgomery County.

“Governor O’Malley is on the right track in proposing to significantly increase tax credits for biotech investment and expanding other resources in Maryland for biotech development,” Fry said. “By supporting fiscal measures to nurture bioscience industry growth in Maryland, we will be playing to Maryland’s economic development strength.”

The GBC will work closely with state lawmakers “to convert the governor’s plan into state policy,” said Fry.

According to information released by the Governor’s Office, basic elements of his investment plan include:

  • Expanding Maryland’s biotech investment tax credit. The governor pledged to double, in FY2010, the amount of biotech investment tax credits the state would award annually. He pledged to double it again “by 2013.” By my calculation, the state’s currrent $6 million in annual bioscience tax credit awards would jump to $12 million next fiscal year and to $24 million no later than that fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2012.
  • Increasing the size of Maryland’s incubator network. Governor O’Malley vowed to invest $60 million in state funds over the next 10 years to increase Maryland’s incubator network by 50 percent.
  • Stem cell research funding. No less than $20 million annually will be dedicated to state-funded stem cell research, O’Malley pledged.
  • Creating a “one-stop shop” for state support of biotechnology. The Governor said he would create a Maryland Biotechnology Center, which would “bring together” TEDCO tech transfer initiatives, the state’s industry regulatory functions under the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; and various biotechnology initiatives at the University of Maryland. No cost has yet been estimated for this part of his plan. 
  • Increasing development funding for life sciences facilities. DBED has entered into a public-private partnership where the state would match $1 million in state funds with $2 million in local investment. The governor estimates that this will “leverage” $100 million to build and improve life science facilities in Maryland.
  • Enhancing Maryland’s venture fund. The governor pledges a $152 million increase in public venture investment by 2019.
  • Strengthening tech transfer programs. The governor is pledging an unspecified amount of state funding to help universities and federal labs get their innovations to market.
  • Services to help value and protect intellectual property. The governor proposes to expand a University of Maryland law school program to help start-ups validate and protect their intellectual property.

The governor’s plan also includes expanding state support for Maryland’s nanobiotechnology initiative and continuing existing state support for the UMB BioPark, the Life Science & Technology at Johns Hopkins, and other centers at UMBI and Montgomery College.