NC, Indy officials pitch plans to aid life sciences

Officials want to help boost the biotech sectors in North Carolina and Indianapolis--two geographies with solid footings in life sciences--with separate plans that have surfaced in recent reports.

With many biotech startups strapped for cash, state lawmakers in North Carolina are discussing a bill that would create a nonprofit to dole out $100 million in loans to life sciences startups, the Triangle Business Journal reports. And in Indianapolis, which is already home to drug powerhouse Eli Lilly ($LLY), city officials are talking about a plan to create a haven for life sciences and tech firms northwest of downtown, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.

We might be in high season for state and local governments to pitch plans to grow their life sciences sectors, given the annual BIO conference starts in Washington, DC, later this month. Indeed, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick stole the show at BIO a few years ago with his state's plan to funnel $1 billion into biotechs and other life sciences concerns in the Bay State. No doubt officials from Indiana and North Carolina will be talking up efforts in their states to cater to drug developers and device companies in weeks ahead.

Biotechs shouldn't count on these dollars until they are approved by lawmaking bodies, but programs with real money attached to them can be a huge help to newly hatched developers trying to gain enough data to attract sums of capital from venture backers or corporate partners.

- check out the Triangle Business Journal's report (sub. req.)
- see the Indianapolis Star's article