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California, the “birthplace of biotech,” and Texas have maintained their one-two punch at the top of Business Facilities annual Biotechnology Strength ranking.
However, Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers noted, this reaffirmation of the Golden State’s perennial roost atop the bio leaderboard comes with a bit of a caveat. “As deep state budget cuts begin to bite, rankings oddsmakers may need to hedge their bets on whether the nation’s most populous state will be able to defend its biotech crown next year,” Rogers said.
California’s unsurpassed university system, the traditional source of the research brainpower behind the state’s biotech industry, has absorbed a series of budget-cutting body blows from the state government in Sacramento as it grabbles with massive deficits. California maintained its biotech lead this year largely on its status as home to more than a third of the nation’s leading biotechnology firms.
The long-term biotech picture is decidedly brighter this year for Maryland, which surged to a third place finish from last year’s ninth-place ranking.
Maryland is home to the highest concentration of federal biotech research facilities, anchored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Taken together, Maryland’s bioscience research complex is conservatively estimated to represent nearly $8 billion in research and development expenditures annually, third in total size in the nation. The state also has a leadership position in academic R&D per capita, led by Johns Hopkins University, the top recipient of NIH funding in the U.S.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is seeking to spur biotech development with his $100-million InvestMaryland program, which would provide tax credits to insurance companies so they could invest in technology companies, including biotech research facilities. The state also is well under way with its Bio 2020 plan to invest at least $1.3 billion in biotech across the decade. The 15-year-old Maryland Venture Fund, which makes direct investments in technology and life sciences early-stage companies, has invested $25 million and returned more than double that investment.
Under the Bio 2020 plan, the Maryland Biotechnology Center was established within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to coordinate a host of state, university and private sector initiatives to support biotechnology innovation and entrepreneurship in Maryland. The Center works closely with university technology transfer offices and commercialization programs such as the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the University of Maryland’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program to foster and fund collaborative initiatives between bioscience enterprises, universities, and federal labs.
More than two dozen key criteria are evaluated to develop Business Facilities’ biotech ranking, including the amount of state R&D funding and venture capital investments; the level of concentrated occupational employment in biotech; tax exemptions specifically targeted to biotech; the number of biotech facilities; biotech patents generated; university grant funding; and bioscience higher education degrees, among other factors. Growth potential of each state’s biotech sector also is assessed in finalizing the rankings.
Here are the top 10 states in our biotech category:
2011 STATE RANKING—BIOTECHNOLOGY STRENGTH
5. NORTH CAROLINA
10. NEW JERSEY