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Public Policy: State Policy Priorities 2013
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2013 STATE POLICY PRIORITIES

Washington’s Life Sciences   - One of the State’s Strongest Economic Drivers

Washington state is fortunate to have a dynamic, diverse and growing statewide life sciences sector. Between 2007 and 2011 jobs grew nearly 12 percent compared to a two percent decline for the rest of the state’s private sector jobs. The life sciences industry is the State’s fifth largest employer. More than 34,000 individuals work directly in life sciences and more than 92,000 Washingtonians total are employed by this industry.  Washington must actively work to create and ensure a supportive environment that enables entrepreneurial people and companies to convert innovative ideas into marketable new products, services and jobs.

Recommendation:  A life sciences advisor should be established in the Governor’s office solely focused on promoting and growing innovation and commercialization in the life sciences.

Favorable Business Climate Critical

Washington needs to retain, recruit and incentivize life science companies to move, remain and grow here in our state by creating a favorable business climate for the sector. Despite the unprecedented and ongoing budget difficulties facing the state, supportive tax policies to retain and help grow life science businesses must continue. 

Recommendation:  Preserve state tax incentives for R&D and sales & use Tax Deferral Waiver.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund Advantage

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) has been described as one of the smart and high-impact programs our state has created to move the economy forward. As of August 2012, LSDF has had an 8:1 return on Washington state’s investment, including over $395M in follow-on funding and at least $67M in health-care cost savings for the state. LSDF grant funding and the $395M in follow-on funding together are responsible for nearly $1B in statewide economic activity. Over the next three years, 3,000 direct and indirect jobs are anticipated due to LSDF funding. More than 40 Washington companies (20 of them start-ups) are involved in LSDF grants. LSDF is a proven investment in Washington jobs and Washington’s future across the state. Now is not the time to falter in that investment.\

Recommendation: Maintain the state’s funding commitment to the LSDF.

Access to Necessary Medicines for Patients

Biosimilars are biologic drugs that are similar to a reference product – but they are not identical. The FDA has recently approved a pathway for biosimilar drugs to be approved. Biologics are medicines that are grown in living cells. The original cell line is key to the production of biologics. Unlike generics that are a chemical recipe, without the original biologic cell line, no exact replicate can be produced of that medicine. State codes have not caught up with the science, which is changing rapidly. State codes only contemplate how to deal with generics, as biologic medicines did not exist when the codes were written.

Recommendation: State code should be updated to include biologics and biosimilars assuring patient safety and access to innovative medicines.

Education Key to Growing Innovation and Maintaining Competitiveness

In order to compete, Washington state requires an education system that embodies achievement and accountability. High quality education produces the innovation-ready workforce that fuels the life sciences industry.  Deep cuts of up to 50 percent to the State’s Higher Education Institutions have already been made.

Recommendation:  Prevent further cuts to the State’s higher education budget.

For more information contact:
Chris Rivera, President, 206-456-9567 or chris@washbio.org
Patti Tenney, Senior Director, Public Affairs, 206-456-9566 or patti@washbio.org

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