Buyouts a sign of industry's health

The news today that a second big biotech company in Maryland is being bought out is raising questions--and eyebrows--about the state's efforts to attract and retain companies in the field. The questions are understandable but a bit foolish. Biotech is a growing field and success in any industry is usually attended by heightened interest and the attention of suitors. Also, we're in a worldwide business which will increasingly see buyouts used as a fast track to global competitiveness. Rather than fret, observers should celebrate the movement. These acquisitions are a sign of the industry's health, which is attracting plenty of fresh start-ups. As for the states, the most successful strategy is to focus on emerging biotech companies. Providing support for advanced drug research still marks the single best use of state funds to encourage the growth of biotechnology. Then one day, perhaps, they too can see some of their best and brightest companies join the list of companies that are acquiring, and being acquired. - John Carroll