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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Says State Number 1 in New Biotechnology Study
Date:7/23/2008

Magazine Ranks Pennsylvania Ahead of California, Massachusetts

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania's efforts to develop and diversify its biotechnology business sector have made it the number one state in the nation in the newest Business Facilities magazine study, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today.

"We have laid the groundwork to keep Pennsylvania number one in biotech," Governor Rendell said of the overall biotechnology strength ranking. "The commonwealth's support for the entire continuum of biotech initiatives, from research and development and product commercialization to bringing mature companies to our state, is paying dividends, even in these uncertain economic times."

Governor Rendell announced the ranking today during the groundbreaking in Montgomery County for the new North American headquarters of Almac, a provider of research, development and manufacturing services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries worldwide.

The magazine cited "the diversity and depth of Pennsylvania's initiatives" in giving it its top ranking. This year's ranking represents a significant advancement for the commonwealth, which has been no higher than 11th position in biotechnology strength over the previous three years.

The report identified more than 20 key criteria, including the amount of state R&D funding and venture capital investments; the level of concentrated occupational employment in biotech; tax exemptions and university grant funding among other factors.

"Biotechnology plays a critical role in Pennsylvania's economic and strategic growth," Governor Rendell said. "We're providing our biotechnology industry with a competitive edge by directing support and funding to companies to expand, create jobs and retain Pennsylvania's talent."

Pennsylvania's programs to address the ongoing needs of life science companies include the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement, or CURE, grant program; the Life Sciences Greenhouse Initiative; and venture capital investments.

The report noted that Pennsylvania set aside $150 million in 2007-08 from its tobacco settlement allocation to support bioscience research in CURE. According to a Life Sciences report released by the Department of Community and Economic Development earlier this summer, CURE has invested more than $228 million of its tobacco settlement funds directly in health-related research projects.

The Life Sciences Greenhouse Initiative, which was created as part of a larger plan to ensure continued growth in the biosciences in Pennsylvania has, since 2001, invested more than $36.5 million in more than 170 projects. Additionally, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a statewide network that catalyzes entrepreneurship and technological innovation as drivers of economic growth, leveraged $675 million and created and retained 2,475 jobs.

Also, more than $500 million in venture capital investment went to biotechnology, medical device and equipment companies in 2007. These venture capital investments have placed Pennsylvania number three in employment by VC-backed companies, according to The National Venture Capital Association.

"The commonwealth's commitment to innovation in biotechnology has resulted in growth and success in this constantly evolving industry," Governor Rendell said. "The spirit and collaboration of our researchers, entrepreneurs, company executives and policy leaders are creating an environment where ideas lead to scientific breakthrough and breakthroughs lead to products in the marketplace."

For more information on Pennsylvania's bioscience initiatives or other DCED programs, visit http://www.newpa.com or call 1-866-466-3972. For more information on the 2008 Business Facilities Ranking Report, visit http://www.businessfacilities.com.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit http://www.governor.state.pa.us.

CONTACT:

Teresa Candori

717-783-1116

Jamie Fulginiti (DCED)

717-783-1132


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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