Biotech Must Have Predictable Regs, More Capital, More Talented Workers to Thrive

6/23/10

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the following during our conversation:

“I am happy to join you in making a very strong call for public involvement to make sure that private genius reaches fruition. I think the study we will hear about today basically has one fundamental conclusion, and that is that with all the private genius we have in America, it won’t reach fruition without public involvement. And we’re here to say that America needs to have a full-court press on an innovation agenda around biotechnology to really reach that private genius and allow it to blossom.

“We have this perfect storm of the biggest creation of new science in world history in life sciences just at the moment when we have a reduction in private capital to reach the fruition of that private genius. So it is up to us in Congress, and in The White House, and Governors Mansions, and State Legislatures to really adopt a new innovation agenda.”

The life science sector in Washington is now one of our state’s top five sectors and one of our fastest growing jobs producers. The industry itself resides in more than 70 cities statewide. The Battelle report showed that the biomedical sector outpaced all other sectors in job growth from 2001 through 2008 nationally. And even more exciting—and the reason why Washingtonians should care about these study findings—is that jobs in the life science sector in our state grew at nearly twice the national average during the same time. Impressive by any standard.

Tom Clement, chairman and co-founder of Kirkland-based Pathway Medical Technologies, an innovator of technologies for the treatment of vascular disease painted a clear picture of the challenges. He lives these issues every day in his business as he attempts to steer through cumbersome regulatory processes, maintain a strong and educated talent pool and remain competitive.

Tom summarized the sentiment of the entire group when he said: “The life science ecosystem is our future, yet it is hurting for several reasons including a lack of early stage—or ‘Valley of Death‘—investments, a shrinking talent pool and an uncertainty in the regulatory environment. That is why I, along with the other industry leaders you see here today, stand in support of a national policy that recognizes the importance of the life sciences sector to our nation and to our state. It’s time to make real changes to ensure that the life sciences remain a strong and thriving jobs engine in our economy.”

The Battelle Study is just the beginning. We have a lot of work to do in this country and this state to ensure continued success. We will be working both within the life sciences community and with our neighbors to build consensus around a policy platform that will keep us on the current growth trajectory. On behalf of the biotech and life sciences community here in Washington state, I’m committed to that program because the alternative is simply unacceptable. It’s ours to lose.

Chris Rivera is the President of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. Follow @

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