Biotech clusters defend their turf as challenges mount

While most economic development groups in the country envy the big biotech clusters that have grown up in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, industry advocates in those areas are quick to point out that they face some big challenges, according to a feature in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. Venture capital injections have been declining and a weak economy has triggered budget crises in the states that threaten the industry with higher taxes and cuts in financial support.

In California, BayBio CEO Gail Maderis notes the urgent need for new training programs to educate workers needed for stem cell work and personalized medicines. And biotech leaders are also calling for better control of taxes as well as new economic incentives in California.

There have been some bright spots in California, though. In San Diego, Biocom's Joe Panetta notes that the venture arms of big biotech and big pharma companies have emerged as key investors in fledgling developers. Some of the industry's biggest gains have been made in Boston, though, where R&D projects have been flourishing as companies cut back in other areas. The state has done a lot under Governor Deval Patrick to encourage the drug development sector, and companies like Genzyme ($GENZ) have responded by adding workers. Sanofi-Aventis ($SNY) has big plans for Boston as well, as it starts to look over its new acquisition and see where it can cut.

- here's the article from Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News