June 1, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 11)

Puerto Rico Governor Anbal Acevedo-Vil says that the Island is preparing to move beyond its pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise onto the next levelR&D activity.

In addition to continuing to attract critical manufacturing operations, my Administration is also committed to building a knowledge-based economy in Puerto Rico. Biotechnology represents the tip of the iceberg in this transformation, noted Gov. Acevedo-Vil at the BIO Conference in Chicago. [In relation to biotechnology], we understand that work on drug design and development is important as well.

Toward that end Gov. Acevedo-Vil, who attended the meeting with Puerto Rico Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, Jorge Silva, and University of Puerto Rico President Antonio Garca Padilla, noted that construction on a new molecular research center to be located in San Juan will begin this summer, and that the Puerto Rico Cancer Center was collaborating with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer. He also said that a program was under way to increase math, science, and biotech education in schools on the Island, with a particular focus on K- to 12-level teachers.

Gov. Acevedo-Vil recently signed an executive order making the promotion and development of the biotech industry a public policy priority; instituted an inter-agency task force to address permitting issues for biotechnology companies on a fast-track basis; and, signed a proclamation creating the first annual biotechnology week.

During the conference, Gov. Acevedo-Vil received the BIO Biotechnology Governor of the Year award for supporting, promoting, and creating incentives for manufacturing companies that produce science and biotechnology products. This support has already encouraged multinational companies to invest millions of dollars in the expansion and establishment of their operations on the Island.

The Governor emphasized that over the past 16 months, his Administration has worked at an accelerated pace on projects and initiatives, such as the Molecular Science Complex, the Bioprocess Research and Workforce Development Center, and the Puerto Rico Science and Technology Trust, to support the effort to attract more biotechnology companies to Puerto Rico.

For more than 40 years our tax system, our competitive advantages, and most of all, our people, have made Puerto Rico the leading choice for pharmaceutical companies to establish their manufacturing operations. Recent investments in the Island by companies such as Amgen, Abbott, Becton Dickson, and Eli Lilly confirm that we also represent an ideal destination for companies transitioning into the biotechnology field, he said.

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