Top Five Regions Targeting Biotech Companies - 2007

When it comes to economic development, the stakes keep getting higher in biotechnology. As more and more states map plans to create their own biotech clusters, they're backing up those plans with money to underwrite bleeding edge research work and provide assistance to drug developers. Meanwhile, countries around the globe have been examining how they can foster their own biotech industries, often willing to provide capital to emerging companies and star researchers to lure them overseas.

Last year FierceBiotech identified five key locations that were making significant investments in their biotech infrastructure: California, Maryland, New Jersey, Singapore and Wisconsin. They all remain aggressive players. Just weeks ago the New Jersey legislature approved a bill that will channel $270 million into new stem cell research facilities. Wisconsin continues to build on its reputation in stem cells as well, while Maryland has been supporting the expansion of academic research facilities. After being held up in the courts, California has now begun to write tens of millions of dollars in checks to researchers while Singapore's high-stakes approach to biotech development has even earned a warning from economists at the World Bank.

Other states and countries have also been aggressive players. Pennsylvania and North Carolina have enthusiastically opened their doors to the industry while Midwestern states like Iowa, Illinois and Indiana have geared up their own approaches, which include attracting agricultural biotech work. In Michigan, economic development officials have been pushing hard to expand the industry, building on hundreds of millions of dollars in academic research work. China and India will both be biotech powerhouses in their own way, though both countries still face tough questions about their treatment of intellectual property and regulatory pathways. And don't overlook the potential of Korea, which has also focused on building up its biotech work.

This year, we're bringing back California and Singapore to our annual list of hot spots because of the new work they're doing in the field. And we're adding Florida, Scotland and Washington for efforts underway in each. Each of these locations faces some tough obstacles before they can achieve their goals. Each offers new ideas and strategies for the field.

This is unquestionably a highly subjective list drawn from the headlines that we scour every day for the FierceBiotech newsletter. It takes a significant amount of attention combined with a lot of potential to make the list. But in the top four you'll find some of the world's most ambitious plans to transform the industry. Number five, Washington, is likely to have a more modest impact simply because it's not nearly as sharply focused on biotech. But starting with some stellar science and ambitious companies, it may achieve more than most would with the same amount of money.

You can hear more about these programs and engage in a conversation on economic development trends in biotech during FierceBiotech's webinar on March 1st at 1:30 p.m. The webinar features Mike Luger, dean of the Manchester Business School, and former professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina, Debbie Hart, president of the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey, Richard Houghten, president of the Torry Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and Joe Panetta, CEO of San Diego-based Biocom. Be sure to register in advance.

Top Five Regions Targeting Biotech Companies - 2007

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