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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Virginia Life Science Update

Virginia Life Science Update
By Dan Gonzalez

Virginia is looking to keep pace with its neighbor to the north, Maryland, in attracting life science firms to the state. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is leading the way with his recent budget submittal on behalf of the industry.

The Virginia Biotechnology Association praised Gov. McDonnell for his efforts in promoting the biosciences industry. The VBA estimated that the governor's proposed budget includes more than $37 million in economic-development money that will directly boost the state's bioscience and advanced-technology industries. It includes:

• $15 million for a refundable research-and-development tax credit;

• $12 million for the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund, which goes toward science and technology-based development; and

• $10 million for an "angel" investor tax credit.

VBA Executive Director Mark A. Herzog said: "Governor McDonnell and Lieutenant Governor Bolling are to be commended for their strong support of these proven technology-based economic-development programs. Bioscience jobs pay approximately $40,000 above the average annual salary. These initiatives will create more job opportunities in many regions across Virginia."

Currently, 34 percent of the state’s biotech firms are located in Northern Virginia. A roster of the major firms located here includes: American Type Culture Collection, Apollo Telemedicine, Ascend Therapeutics, Best Medical, Bio Vail Technologies, Bode Technology Group, Cary Pharmaceuticals, CEL-SCI, Covance Laboratories, Dynex, Glen Research, GlobaleMed, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kol BioMedical, Nutravail Technologies, and Quintiles.

Currently, we are seeing an uptick in activity from tenants in the life science community. Some of this activity is the result of initiatives growing out of universities like George Mason. Others are foreign entities looking to get closer to federal agencies (i.e., FDA) and Department of Defense related initiatives. M&A activity is also on the rise as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Manassas, VA based Mediatech , Inc by the life science segment of Corning, Incorporated.

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