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Chamber Summit Panel Focuses on Bio Industry Growth

September 6, 2012

Policies to grow the bioscience industry – both in West Virginia and nationally – were the focus of a panel discussion during the WV Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Summit on August 30.

TechConnectWV’s Anne Barth joined Dr. Stephen Kopp, President of Marshall University, Ross DeVol, Chief Research Officer at the Milken Institute, and Bryan Brown, Executive Director of the Bioscience Association of West Virginia, for a comprehensive discussion on the policies needed to become more competitive in this sector.

Barth offered suggestions on state-level policies and incentives that could be implemented to help spur private sector growth in the bio industry in West Virginia.  President Kopp discussed the types of academic research and development programs Marshall is engaged in and shared recommendations for policies to enhance this vital focus across the academic spectrum in the state.  Ross DeVol offered recommendations from the Milken Institute study, “The Global Biomedical Industry: Preserving U.S. Leadership,” which he authored.

The panel offered a number of recommendations for growing the bioscience industry. Recommendations to enhance West Virginia’s competitiveness included:

  • Reinstatement of the High Growth Business Investment Tax Credit for early stage companies;
  • Establishing a “fund of funds” to spur venture capital investment in West Virginia;
  • Creating an SBIR/STTR State matching program for bio companies;
  • Reauthorization and refunding of the “Bucks for Brains” program;
  • Incentivizing university technology transfer among faculty.

Recommendations to enhance the nation’s global bioscience competitiveness included:

  • Increase      R&D tax incentives and make them permanent;
  • Cut      corporate tax rates to match the OECD average;
  • Extend      support for emerging biomedical research fields;
  • Provide      adequate resources for the FDA and the NIH to expedite regulatory reviews      and  clinical trials;
  • Leverage      existing strengths in medical devices;
  • Promote      and expand role of universities by adopting best practices in tech      transfer and commercialization.

The panel emphasized that growing the life science industries in West Virginia and across America offers tremendous economic and social benefits and that with the help of state and national policy makers, bioscience can be a winning industry for West Virginia.