Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined Montgomery County Biosciences Task Force Chair David Mott, Department of Economic Development Director Steve Silverman, members of the Task Force, County Councilmembers and public and private sector stakeholders from the local biotech community to announce Montgomery County’s new bioscience strategy. The County’s Biosciences Task Force distributed a report detailing key objectives and recommended strategies to achieve the Task Force’s vision for Montgomery County to become a “… a globally recognized leader in advancing bioscience research and development, and in translating scientific discoveries into commercially available products that benefit human health.” Leggett formed the Task Force last October to strengthen and expand the bioscience community and preserve its role as a leading local and regional economic engine.
“Despite broad success from the County’s substantial investments and efforts to capitalize on our many federal, academic and private-sector biotech assets over the past 25 years, we face unprecedented competition as cities and regions across the nation and around the world invest hundreds of millions of dollars to cultivate their own bioscience sectors,” said Leggett. “To remain competitive in this global environment, Montgomery County must articulate and pro-actively advance our own strategic biotech agenda. The well thought out, clearly defined objectives put forth in the bioscience strategy will allow us to further our standing as a global bioscience leader.”
The report includes five key objectives, listed below, along with some of the priority strategies for each:
Objective 1: Enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and the creation of new life science companies. Create a public-private partnership to augment the County’s Business Innovation Network with an ‘accelerator’ that brings together the resources of leading venture capitalists with top managers, scientists and entrepreneurs to evaluate, finance and manage the development of promising life science start-ups.
Objective 2: Catalyze greater technology transfer and commercialization and leverage Montgomery County’s federal and academic assets more effectively. Work with the University System of Maryland (USM), Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and other regional academic research institutions to facilitate greater licensing and commercialization of their research discoveries and technologies.
Objective 3: Foster a more enabling financial, regulatory and business environment. Pass enabling legislation to create a Montgomery County specific biotech investment tax credit by summer 2010 (which could be the first such locally initiated biotech tax credit in the nation). Also, create an expedited planning and permitting review and approval process for qualified bioscience projects and equalize permitting costs with other types of commercial development.
Objective 4: Enhance bioscience educational opportunities in Montgomery County and expand the higher education presence in Montgomery County to build a robust biosciences workforce. Support efforts by USM, JHU and other academic and privately funded research institutions to expand their presence, clinical trials and technology transfer activity in Montgomery County to facilitate greater drug discovery, licensing of applied technologies and business growth.
Objective 5: Market Montgomery County’s bioscience sector nationally and internationally. Strategically target international biotech companies that are poised to enter the U.S. market.
“Montgomery County is in an enviable position thanks to the groundbreaking science conducted at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal institutions located here, its two hundred plus biotech companies, nationally renowned public schools and institutions of higher learning and highly educated workforce,” said Mott. “But with all this, Montgomery County has been boxing below its weight. We have a unique opportunity to propel our biotech sector even further, and the bioscience strategy developed by the Task Force will help the County unlock its full biotech potential and wholly capitalize on its many tremendous assets.”
Leggett formed the Biosciences Task Force last fall to help the County better leverage its competitive strengths; build stronger partnerships with the private sector, federal and state government, academia and other industry stakeholders; and work to attract new, large private sector companies with the resources to accelerate the commercialization of products and services. The 34 member advisory group, listed in the report, is comprised of biotech leaders from industry, academia, and government.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the industry acumen provided by Biosciences Task Force Chair David Mott, along with the wealth of biotech expertise and knowledge held by each member of the advisory group in developing this new bioscience strategy for the County,” said Silverman. “The Department of Economic Development’s role now is to work with our public, private, academic and advocacy partners to implement the well-crafted objectives developed by the group and further support and grow Montgomery County’s vital and diverse biotech sector.”
In 2008, the County’s biosciences industry generated combined revenues of $2.36 billion. It directly employed more than 9,200 workers in the private sector and an estimated 49,000 in federal government agencies. The average private sector biotech salary was $92,945 -- double the Countywide average.
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Contact: Kristina Ellis, 240-777-2024 or 240-793-9568
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Corinne Rothblum, 240-777-2011