The state’s life science industry group, BioFlorida, is supporting the creation of an R&D tax credit measure modeled after the federal program. This is the purpose of Senate Bill 942 sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R) and House Bill 671 sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman (R).
Also, this year The Jackson Laboratory will try again to develop a personalized medicine campus in Florida. On March 2, the laboratory announced plans for a facility focused on genetic-based treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and diabetes. The new plan would require $100 million in county funds as well as $100 million in state funds.
While a site has yet to be selected, the laboratory expects to partner with the University of South Florida (USF), Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “We will also locate some offices and labs in Tampa at the USF Health campus, so we’ll be in both communities,” Michael Hyde, Jackson Lab’s vp for advancement and external relations, told GEN.
It is still uncertain whether new Gov. Rick Scott (R) and state lawmakers will support Jackson Lab’s new plan. It seeks less public funding than last year’s proposal, which envisioned $130 million each from the state and county.
“The projections are lower mostly because of the shared laboratory space offered by USF Health,” Hyde said. “We are waiting for a chance to talk with Governor Scott. His support is crucial for the project to move forward.”
Last year Collier’s Board of County Commissioners gave preliminary approvals for the laboratory’s initial plan to build a campus despite opposition by residents who argued the subsidy to the nonprofit Jackson Lab amounted to corporate welfare. Three lawsuits followed, one by Collier officials seeking confirmation that the project had “valid public purpose” to allow county bond funding.
Florida had 60,896 life science jobs in 3,385 “establishments” as of 2008, according to Battelle and BIO. The term establishments refer to the number of locations of for-profit employers, or businesses. It does not include university medical centers and research institutes because current industrial classifications and available data do not allow for an isolation of research-oriented establishments outside of the larger hospitals sector, Battelle and BIO explained.
Employment grew 18% from 2001, and the number of establishments rose 40.5%. MoneyTree recorded five companies receiving a total of more than $14.1 million in venture capital last year, down from six deals totaling just over $22.9 million in 2009. BioFlorida said those numbers will likely improve if the state creates a $25 million seed fund to invest in early-stage biotechs.