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Washington State

Life Science Day in Olympia – February 5

Thank you to our members who trekked to Olympia for WBBA’s 11th Annual Life Science Day in Olympia. More than 80 WBBA members, state legislators and legislative aids made connections. This annual day in our state’s capitol is always an opportunity to meet with legislators and discuss the exciting research going on to heal, feed and fuel the world,  the positive economic impact of the life science sector in Washington and the need for supportive policy. Participants were able to share stories of how tax incentives encourage and support research and development that may otherwise not take place. It was also an opportunity to learn about legislators’ questions and concerns. Special thanks to those who help make this happen, our sponsors: Pinnacle: Amgen; Bio Bus: Genentech and Innovation: ZymoGenetics, a Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company.


Life science leaders meet with Governor’s Key Policy Advisors

Dr. Bob Crittenden, Senior Health Policy Advisor and Kelly Ogilvie, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee convened a meeting with Chris Rivera, WBBA; Tom Clement, Aqueduct Critical Care; Margaret McCormick, Matrix Genetics; Terry Sweeney, Philips Ultrasound and Maura Little, Director of Life Science and Global Health Development, Department of Commerce. The group discussed the economic impact of the life science industry and the need for state policies that ensure a competitive environment so that cutting-edge healthcare innovation continues to happen right here in Washington. 


Sharing the Life Science Story with the Senate Trade & Economic Development Committee 


On January 28, Chris Rivera, WBBA; Tracy Day, Physio-Control; Karen Hedine, Micronics; and Thong Le, Accelerator Corporation presented an overview of the bioscience industry in Washington State to members of the Senate Trade & Economic Development Committee. The committee heard about the economic impact as well as the story of how Physio-Control established in Washington in 1955 revolutionized care for heart attacks and how Micronics helps solve the problem of mistyped blood for soldiers in the field. Thong Le talked about the support for startups provided by the Accelerator Corp, the competition from other states and how New York rolled out the red carpet to woo the Accelerator to open a division in New York which they have done. 


Getting the R&D & Sales/Use Tax Incentives Reinstated is Priority One


Life science industry tax incentives first enacted in 1994 and renewed in 2004 were not renewed during the 2014 legislative session. Chris Rivera, WBBA President & CEO has been burning up the freeway to Olympia and running the tread off his shoes while there. Since session began he has met with nearly 40 state legislators about the critical importance of reinstating high tech tax incentives. He hits the road to Olympia again later in March.


Help Raise WBBA’s Voice in Olympia

BIOPAC is WBBA’s nonpartisan political action committee. It is funded by WBBA members, Board contributions and proceeds from our Annual Golf Invitational.  It’s a fact of life that it takes money to run a political campaign. During the most recent election cycle, the BIOPAC made $70,300 in contributions to 39 legislative races and all four political caucuses. One hundred percent of the candidates the BIOPAC contributed to were elected.


Contributions to BIOPAC help increase the life science sector’s voice in Washington State government through education, information and support for candidates who promote policies that grow and strengthen the life science sector.  A contribution to the BIOPAC is an investment in the life sciences in Washington. Please make a BIOPAC investment today. For more information, please contact Patti Tenney ( or at 206-456-9566.  

Voter Voice Action Center

WBBA has a new advocacy tool we invite you to use. Voter Voice makes it easy for you to take action by communicating with your legislators. So far our advocates have sent 242 messages to their legislators. Please when you receive an email request to do so, take action. It takes just a few minutes at the VoterVoice Action Center.


STEM Voice Student Video Competition

CSBI’s Regional STEM Voice Video Competition. Calling all STEM loving students. Win up to $1500 just for submitting a 60-second video on STEM!

Competition at a Glance:

Purpose: Students, it’s about you. The competition encourages students to be creative and use video to show how much you love STEM.
Application Deadline: April 17th 2015
Application: STEM Voice Video Competition Application

Requirements: Tell us why STEM is important to you -OR - who your STEM hero is and why.  Also be sure to include in your video what STEM is - OR - explore the interdisciplinary nature of STEM. Tell us why STEM is important to you -OR - who your STEM hero is and why. Also be sure to include in your video what STEM is - OR - explore the interdisciplinary nature of STEM.
Prizes: One semi-finalist from Middle School (grades 5-8) and one semifinalist from High School (grades 9-12) will be selected from each of the three regions West Coast, Central and East Coast. Each semifinalist (6 total) will receive a $500 cash award. Two grand prize winners (one from Middle School and one from High School) will receive $1,000 cash awards.

• Must be in grades 5 - 12 and under 18 years of age
• Middle School contest is for students grades 5-8; High School contest is for students, grades 9-12
• United States legal resident
• Cannot be related to employees of STEM Voice™ Video Competition Administration



Working to speed innovation and the pace of cures

Congress is working on steps they can take to accelerate the pace of cures, save more lives and keep the U.S. a leader in medical innovation. The House’s Energy and Commerce Committee launched the "21st Century Cures" initiative in 2014 and has held numerous hearings, received a great deal of feedback on their proposals and is working on policy aligned with that feedback. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) released a white paper "Innovation for Healthier Americans" in January 2015 and have sought feedback on the report which will be shared with all members of the Senate HELP committee before taking it to the broader public. Watch for more news on these two efforts as they work on policy that will spur healthcare innovations and speed cures to market.

Congressional Legislative Day Fly-In 2015 

BIO's 2015 Fly-In will occur April 14-15, 2015, and we are looking forward to another great day of engaging with Members of Congress and their senior staff about the most important legislative issues facing the biotechnology industry. BIO will schedule all congressional meetings and provide attendees with a robust legislative briefing prior to their visits on Capitol Hill. Attendees meet in small groups with the congressional Members and senior staff of the attendee’s congressional delegation. Each group will be accompanied by a BIO staff representative to all visits


Re Patent Reform


H.R. 9, The Innovation Act introduced in the current Congress is the same as H.R. 3309 from the last Congress. WBBA joined a broad coalition that sent a letter to the ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on patent reform. Read the letter. Watch Save the Inventor’s "Inventing to Nowhere" documentary which explores the implications and challenges to bioscience and medical device innovation relative to patent reform.


WBBA and nearly 1000 others call on Congress to repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax 

The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association signed a letter along with nearly 1,000 others calling for Congressional Leadership to take on repeal of the medical device tax as a top priority. Read the letter.

AdvaMed: Supporters of R&D Agree: Repeal the Device Tax


The Alliance for Aging, The AIDS Institute, Research America and others call on Congress to act swiftly to advance medical research, the innovation economy, and patient care by repealing the medical excise tax: Supporters of R&D Agree: Repeal the Device Tax.


AdvaMed released a report on the Impact of the Medical Device Excise Tax


Key findings confirm 195,000 lost jobs, more than half of responders said their companies or organizations had reduced R&D spending; 75 percent reported cancelling, reducing or deferring one or more actions such as capital investment, plans to open new facilities, reduced investment in startups. Read more about current and future impacts.


MDMA reports on what won’t be happening if Medical Device Excise Tax stands

MDMA received more than 100 responses from senior executives at some of America’s most innovative and entrepreneurial medical devices companies, when they asked the executives how repeal of the device tax would affect their companies. Read the findings here.

Innovation Agenda: Five Pillars to Protect the MedTech Ecosystem

Improve, restructure, reform and support – key words in the call for federal policies to protect and ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in innovating for better health and ensuring job growth here at home. Read more.

FDA Safety over Sequestration Act

You no doubt remember sequestration and the havoc it played on research funding. Sequestration also played havoc on private company-paid FDA user fees which made it impossible for FDA to access all the fees which were paid, thereby negatively impacting the ability of the FDA to fulfill its mission. The FDA Safety over Sequestration Act (FDA SOS Act) would exempt privately-paid user fees paid to the FDA from any future operation of sequestration.  "A good bill indeed," as BIO comments in a press release.


Add Your Voice

Advocacy is a powerful tool. Grassroots action can make all the difference on certain policy issues at every level of government. During the 2015 session, we have been working diligently to have R&D B&O Tax Credits as well as the Sales/Use Deferral Credits reinstated. Grassroots efforts will be a critical part of our effort to get the credits restored. If you are willing to participate in grassroots initiatives, please contact Patti Tenney (or at 206-456-9566).


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