Monday, August 18, 2008

LOCAL: State Ranked No. 1 For Biotech Research, Development

(previously published here at

By: Heather J. Chin, The Bulletin

Pennsylvania's advances in biotechnology research and development have recently been recognized as number one for the "diversity and depth" of their initiatives.

This was the conclusion of the most recent Business Facilities magazine study, an annual report that also rated states for their strength in biotechnology.

Gov. Rendell announced the ranking during Wednesday's groundbreaking in Montgomery County for the new North American headquarters of Almac, a worldwide provider of R&D and manufacturing services for pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

"We have laid the groundwork to keep Pennsylvania number one in biotech," said Mr. Rendell noting its elevation in perceived status. The state had previously ranked 11th for the past three years.

"Biotechnology plays a critical role in Pennsylvania's economic and strategic growth. We're providing [the] industry with a competitive edge by directing support and funding to companies to expand, create jobs and retain ... talent."

Criteria included amount of state R&D funding and venture capital investments, level of concentrated occupational employment, tax exemptions, and university grant funding.

The report noted the state's allocation of $150 million in 2007-08 from its tobacco settlement to support research in CURE, the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement, toward health-related programs.

In addition, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a statewide network that pushes entrepreneurship and tech innovation for economic growth, leveraged $675 million and created and retained 2,475 jobs.

Other Pennsylvania biotech programs include Life Sciences Greenhouse Initiatives and various venture capital investments in medical device and equipment companies worth more than $500 million, according to The National Venture Capital Association.

Heather J. Chin can be reached at

©The Evening Bulletin 2008

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