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Building Biotech Hubs; Biomanufacturing Attractors and Accelerators

This is the fourth in a series of articles on workforce development and quality jobs - with a focus on state and regional support for bioscience industry development. Read part one. Read part two. Read part three.

By Peter M. Pellerito, BIO Senior Policy Consultant

Bioscience economic development in a nation as large and diverse as the United States is as varied as the country itself.  A complex array of factors influence the allocation of resources and the nature of bioscience industry development:

  • Presence of Universities
  • Talent in the workforce
  • Climate and geography
  • Sufficiency of business capital
  • Historical economic influences 

Ultimately, these characteristics combine to impact a local or regional economy and most often determine its success.
As a competitive knowledge-based industry, the biosciences require a region or state to harness its best and brightest minds, while leveraging and maximizing unique resources and characteristics, in order to effectively grow business and boost employment.  This industry cluster is unique in that it requires a strong foundation and significant investments in scientific research and discovery, often long before products are manufactured and brought to the marketplace. 

Despite the diversity of bioscience niches across the United States, there is several particular commonality that stand out - industry hubs attract and retain high-skilled workers, provide high-paying jobs and provide a positive economic ripple effect to the surrounding community.
Bioscience manufacturing specifically is critically important to the bottom-line of companies competing for an increasingly crowded field of inventors and companies across the globe. They are increasingly challenging US leadership in this important technology sector. Understanding, therefore, vital policy infrastructure challenges facing the future growth of  U.S. biomanufacturing requires consideration of attractors and accelerators that foster partnerships.
Each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia posses, to broadly varying degrees, a bioscience industry presence. According to the US Department of Commerce, 34 states are home to bioscience  companies engaged in the manufacturing of health, agriculture, and/or industrial produced, yielding an estimated value of $374 billion, as of 2010.

Federal and State Biomanufacturing Attractors and Accelerators
These are some of the Federal, State, and Local policy and economic factors that attract new companies to a region to cluster (attractors) and those partnership efforts that assist the incumbent companies to prosper (accelerators).
National Policy Factors for Biomanufacturing Success:

  • Corporate Tax Policy Reform: Reduction of the burden on manufacturing  companies including capital equipment and technology depreciation, as well as statutory corporate tax relief to encourage reinvestment in R&D and manufacturing equipment technologies.
  • Trade Policy Reform: Establish and enforce trade policies that work in conjunction with a reformed tax policy to make US manufacturers more attractive to international original equipment manufacturers, as well as attract foreign-owned manufacturing into the US (indigenous innovation policy, export financing and promotion).
  • Immigration Reform: Invest in a sound foundation of immigration policies that attract and retain the best technologists, scientists, and innovators from around the world.
  • Patent and Trademarks Funding: Increase budget funding for USPTO to alleviate being overwhelmed by demand from domestic and foreign applications, which stifle innovation and downstream manufacturing.

 State and Regional Factors for Biomanufacturing Clustering and Success:

  • Availability of tax breaks, grants, finance, loans, guarantees
    (Nature of loan, grant and tax break packages)
  • Infrastructure (transport, communications, utilities)
    Road access, air freight handling, water, broadband facilities)
  • Availability of skilled workforce technicians
    (Bioprocessing technicians, relevant training organizations ) 
  • Cost of labor
    (New hires, out-of-state recruitment costs)
  • Availability of biomanufacturing workers
    (Local graduate training programs : Existing talent pool in cluster)
  • Planning environment and business support assistance 
    (Integrated, professional services to assist operations)
  • Effective sector networks
    (Industry-led networks related to biomanufacturing issues)
  • Presence of key suppliers
  • Proximity of biomanufacturing clients
    (Number of potential local/regional clients)
  • Existing biomanufacturing companies in a region