Senator takes a stab at repeating biotech R&D credit program

Back in the days when Congress was looking for new ways to spur a flagging economy, lawmakers came up with a tax credit that showered benefits on a host of biotechs from coast-to-coast. These days, the economy is slogging along at an anemic pace and industry lobbyists have scored a major sponsor for new legislation that will attempt to repeat the legislative feat.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) earned a slap on the back from BIO for "The Extension of the Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit" (S. 3232).

"In 2010, the TDP provided $1 billion in support to nearly 3,000 small companies across the country," said BIO chief Jim Greenwood in a statement. "As evidence of the program's popularity suggests, Congress should extend it for two more years and beyond in order to support American innovation and speed the development of life-saving cures."

In its original form, drug developers could either score a tax credit if they earned income or a grant if they didn't have taxable revenue, which is a common characteristic of many development-stage companies. And it proved to be one of the most popular industry initiatives undertaken by BIO, as scores of companies grabbed a piece of the action. It may be a long shot now that many lawmakers are more focused on the deficit than priming the economy, but a repeat would earn plenty of cheers from biotech execs.

An important Republican co-sponsor would be a big help right now.

- here's the release from Menendez
- here's the release from BIO