Technology Community 
July/August 1998 edition

 

Center for New West Reports

 Biotechnology Century Dawns in West

DENVER-June 4,1998 The Western Region of the U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead a 21st century global revolution in biotechnology that will drive economic growth and shape new economies, according to a new report by the Center for the New West, the Denver think tank. The biotech revolution will change the way we fight disease, grow crops and clean the environment, the report says.

But the 16-page report, Biotech Century Dawns in the Western U.S., warns that short-sighted regulatory and public policy decisions may jeopardize U.S. chances to reap the economic benefits of a global biotechnology boom.

An eight-state region of the Western U.S. is home to more biotechnology companies than any other region of the world. Five of the world's seven largest biotech companies are headquartered in the West. Thousands of smaller biotech firms and laboratories in California, Colorado, Utah, Washington and other Western states employ tens if thousands of highly-paid workers in jobs ranging from the development of cancer vaccines and non-intrusive medical devices to genetic research and insect-resistant agricultural products..

According to the report, written by Frederick Bolin, Center for the West's new director of special projects, there are two primary reasons why the Western U.S. is a global leader in biotechnology: (1) an abundant supply of venture capital in the region, especially in California, and (2) unmatched clusters of research facilities, stretching like a chain from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the nation's largest cancer research institute, to the National Center for Genome Research in Santa Fe.

"The 21st century will be the biotech century," said Philip Burgess, president of the Center for the New West. "And in the Western U.S., important biotech clusters have formed in areas that enjoy a special synergy of brains, bucks and entrepreneurship. The West is likely to anchor the biotech century and biotech will have a major and very positive economic impact in the West."

According to the U.S. department of Commerce, nearly 85% of all new drugs are developed in the U.S. However, the report cautions that U.S. global leadership in biotechnology- and resulting U.S. job growth- is threatened by regulation and legislation.For example, according to the report, well-meaning but poorly written legislation to prohibit human cloning could threaten important cancer research or even the processing of DNA in police investigations of murders and rapes. Other legislation, aimed at protecting genetic privacy, could drive the price of medicines beyond the reach of many individuals, according to the report, which urgers policymakers to work with both biotech industry researchers when drafting legislation.

The report also addresses the long development and testing times often necessary before a new biotech product can go to market - a characteristic of the biotech industry with major economic impact. The report reviews tax credits and other policy innovations used by policymakers to help promising biotech frims meet these front-end costs. The report says slow approval of new medicines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration often encorages U.S. companies to introduce promising new drugs in Europe where they are not available to Americans. According to the report, 142,000 workers are employed in biotech in California, 13,000 in Washington, 19,000 in Colorado and 10,000 in Utah. Biotech emolyment in the West is growing rapidly and biotech workers are among the best paid workers in the U.S.

The report also includes geographic profiles of the biotech industry and special sections including how genetic research can be encouraged while protecting genetic privacy; the power of new DNA-based computers; how new cancer vaccines work and how new biotechnology products are improving agriculture production, reducing the use of insecticides and cleaning up the environment.

The Center for the West is an independent, nonprfit public policy research institute with headquarters in Denver and a national affairs office in Annapolis, Maryland. The Center's Environmental Education Research Institute is in Tucson.

[For more information, contact Bob Wurmstedt (303) 572-5457.]


Headlines from the July/August edition of Technology Community

Page 2 OUT IN FRONT
Page 3 EPA Compliance Centers
Page 4 Call for SBIR Nominees for Tibbetts Award
Page 5 Business Strategies for Sustainable Future
Page 6 ABOUT TOWN --Technology Companies Group &TEMI Web Site
Page 7 For the "Real" Entrepreneur & MBA at a distance
Page 8 COLUMNS & NEWS Rockies Venture Club July Meeting
Technology Transfer Society- National Summit
Telecommunications Research Session
Page 9 CU- Business Advancement Center
CATI- Electronics Manufacturers Survey
Page 10 T2Society- Colorado Chapter
Advanced Technology Program
Page 11 TIPS & TREASURES -- Emerging Digital Economy Report
Metrology for Information Technology


 TECHNOLOGY COMMUNITY

Technology Community is published bi-monthly as a cooperative venture of Colorado organizations involved in commercialization of new inventions, products and technologies. Any technology organization or company is invited to submit brief articles via fax or e-mail to:

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Phone (303) 554-9493. Fax (303) 554-9605
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