In my post yesterday, I wondered at the lack of excitement about the new Massachusetts Life Sciences law. Today, the top article in the Boston Globe’s business section is about Maryland’s announcement of a similar plan. Apparently the Massachusetts law hasn’t gone unnoticed by other state governments, even if it’s barely caused a ripple locally. In fact, several states already have in place similar programs to boost investment in life sciences research and industry: California has a $3 billion program to support stem cell research, New York is investing $600 million in stem cell research, Texas has a $3 billion program to support cancer research, and Washington State plans to put $350 million into life science research.
It’s great to see state governments making long-term strategic investments that will help to build and support emerging business in the life science industry. Instead of continuing to bring out me-too legislative packages, though, I would like to see our states working together to develop a competitive global strategy. And where is our national leadership on this?
Addendum: The day after I wrote this, the Boston Globe ran another longer article about competition among the states for life sciences and biotech businesses. This article finally noted that ‘All three [states] also face competition from abroad, including Ireland, Singapore, and China. Swiss drug maker Novartis AG, for instance, decided late last year to build a drug manufacturing plant in Singapore, after initially considering Massachusetts as one of several potential sites. “I think our ability to attract and retain the best and brightest talent in the world is being challenged by other parts of the world,” said Matthew Gardner, president of BayBio, which represents Northern California’s life sciences industry.’