Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moran Promises $100M for Biotech Labs in Virginia

Former state Delegate Brian Moran is one of three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor of Virginia. He announced yesterday several key technology-based economic development initiatives that relate to the bioscience industry in Virginia.

Moran pledges state support to create biotechnology jobs
By Olympia Meola
Published: April 15, 2009

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran said yesterday that, if elected, he would authorize the sale of $10 million in revenue bonds to help create biotechnology jobs.

The bonds would be part of a 10-year, $100million commitment to finance construction of a biotechnology "wet lab" and production facilities, he said yesterday while discussing his broader plan to create and attract more high-tech jobs.

"I think we could do more with our biotech center in Richmond," he said. "My thought here is to kind of kick-start the construction of new facilities to make sure that facilities are available here in Virginia."

Moran's "Innovation Agenda" aims to create incentives for research and development and expand biotechnology, green-energy technology and universal broadband. He explained the plan in a conference call with reporters yesterday and was joined by Eugene J. Huang, who was secretary of technology under Gov. Mark R. Warner.

The former delegate from Alexandria is fighting for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination along with state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Moran would invest in Virginia's Biotech Commercialization Loan Fund and repeal the ban on lending to companies that conduct human stem-cell research from human embryos "because research should be based on science, not ideology," according to his plan.

Technology jobs make up 16 percent of the work force in Virginia and pay 29 percent of the wages, Moran said. More than 175 biotech, pharmaceutical, equipment and medical-device companies are based in the state, he added. That accounts for more than $2.5 billion annually to the state's economy and more than 7,000 jobs.

Among his other ideas: create teams from government, state universities and the private sector to develop Energy Technology Parks to help incubate emerging companies and technological innovation; create a tax credit for private investment in university research; coordinate resources and policies to close the broadband gap.

Moran would not give a price tag for his plan, answering with: "It'll be too costly if we don't move in this direction."

No comments: