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Biotech, biotech sis boom bah!

When cheerleaders from Ohio and Pennsylvania start shouting at each other, it’s usually because Penn State’s Nittany Lions and The Ohio State Buckeyes are battling it out for the number one ranking in college football.

Well, the cheering has come early this year, and we are pleased to report that the ranking generating all the hoopla is Business Facilities’ annual tallying of Overall Biotechnology Strength in the U.S.

It seems like the entire state of Ohio erupted as soon as they got their hands on our annual Rankings Report, which was published last month (and currently is appearing on the home page of this Web site). Ohio ranked fourth in overall biotech strength (tied with Texas), a quantum leap forward from last year’s showing.

Ohio’s move up to the biotech big leagues was made possible by the state’s commitment to its Third Frontier tech-funding initiative and muscular university research programs, among other advances.

When our Rankings Report hit the streets, we immediately got a call from the Columbus Dispatch. The newspaper published a story in the next day’s Business section, and papers in Dayton and Cincinnati also covered the news. The Dayton paper put the word out on national business wires.

The next time our phone rang it was a National Public Radio station in Cleveland (WCPN) on the line, asking for an interview about the biotech results. We ran into the bathroom and gargled, and then used our best radio voice to extol the virtues of Ohio’s achievement.

We knew it wouldn’t take long for Pennsylvania, which snared the top ranking in overall biotech strength, to clear its throat. Sure enough, this week we heard a roar from Nittany Lion number 1–no, not Joe Pa, but Gov. Ed Rendell.

During a groundbreaking in Montgomery County for the new North American headquarters of Almac, a provider of research, development and manufacturing services for the global pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Gov. Rendell made a special announcement citing his state’s top ranking in the annual Business Facilities report.

”We have laid the groundwork to keep Pennsylvania number one in biotech,” Rendell said. “The commonwealth’s support for the entire continuum of biotech initiatives, from research and development and product commercialization to bringing mature companies to our state, is paying dividends, even in these uncertain economic times.”

The initiatives that secured the top biotech spot for Pennsylvania included the investment of more than $228 million in tobacco settlement funds in health-related research projects (including $150 million for bioscience in 2007-2008); more than $500 million in venture capital investment in biotech; and the entrepreneurial push of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a statewide network that has leveraged more than $675 million for technology innovation and job-creation.

Kudos to Pennsylvania and Ohio for your great showing, and thanks for citing the source of the good rankings news. We expect to hear from you again after next year’s rankings, as you continue to reap a biotech bonanza.

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