Top Five Regions Targeting Biotech Companies - 2008

This year FierceBiotech’s list of top economic development efforts for biotechnology stays focused on the U.S., with five states that have stepped up to the plate with offers of significant financial support designed to spawn a new generation of drug developers. The state funds are coming at a critical stage, with the federal government keeping the cap on research budgets--both for budgetary as well as ethical concerns. And in many cases these state programs are driving the development of new facilities that will likely have a profound impact in determining where the industry will find its most fertile soil for future growth.

In the space of just a few years, Florida has launched an ambitious program to woo some of the world’s top research institutes. Joined with university researchers who already have created a rich pipeline of discoveries, the state is likely to see its support for R&D breed new start-ups in the near future. California continues to innovate with its $3 billion stem cell initiative--after clearing the initial legal hurdles in the way. And California’s influence could clearly be seen in two other programs we recognize today in New York and Texas. Massachusetts, meanwhile, is promising to make up for years of benign neglect with a new set of biotech incentives that may well create a whole new model for a biotech economic development program other states can follow.

It’s only unfortunate that we have to limit the list to five. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and other states have all been working overtime to widen the gates in order to lure more developers into their arenas. New Jersey officials, in particular, tried and failed to pass a $450 million program to back stem cell research in the state. And we suspect that more such efforts will be made as state economic development groups continue to see biotech as a prime source of top jobs that will in turn spawn new, clean growth.

This is the third time we’ve completes a Top 5 list, and the first time we haven’t had Singapore on the list. The city-state continues to push some amazing programs to fund research as well as corporate activities. And we’ll be closely watching to see what new programs are unveiled in the future.

When we started this list three years ago, the primary focus in the states’ economic support of biotechnology followed a traditional path of tax incentives and research grants. Now those efforts have been joined with new incubators that are springing up around the country as well as freshly created venture capital organizations in Arizona and other states directly targeted at early-stage companies. And states are channeling billions of dollars in direct support as they foster research on the way to spurring the development of new companies. It’s a pattern that has clearly raised the expectations of biotech companies in the U.S., and blazed a path that other economic development groups are sure to follow.

The 2008 Winners:


New York