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Public Policy: State Policy Priorities 2014
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2014 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 2012, life science jobs great 10 percent while the rest of the private sector grew zero percent. The fifth largest sector in the state, the life sciences employ 34,000 direct jobs and 91,000 total jobs.  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.

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. In an increasingly competitive environment, 40 other states offer R&D tax credits and other incentives.  Supportive tax policies to retain and help grow life science businesses must continue here in Washington.

Recommendation: Renew 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 June 30, 2013 LSDF has had a 7:1 return on Washington state’s investment, including over $425M in follow-on funding and at least $67M in health-care cost savings for the state. LSDF grant funding and the $425M 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

Biologics are complex medicines manufactured from living organisms. "Biosimilars” are biologic products manufactured using different cell lines and manufacturing processes with the goal of closely mirroring the composition and treatment profile of an innovator product produced by another company.   Due to the innate complexity of biologics in general, however, the production of biosimilar products will invariably lead to some differences between the composition of a biosimilar and the original innovator product, and these differences could potentially lead to clinical differences in a patient’s experience or reaction.  The Federal Food and Drug Administration is in the process of developing and implementing a regulatory pathway for the approval of biosimilars and interchangeable biologic products.  Policy on whether one biologic product may be substituted by dispensers when a different biologic product was prescribed is governed by state law.  Current Washington State law addresses automatic substitution of generics, but does not address substitution of biologics.

Recommendation: With the coming potential for alternative biologic therapies available for patients through the federal biosimilar pathway, state code should be updated to increase patient access to biologic and biosimilar medicines and ensure complete and accurate medical records. State code should be updated to include biologics and biosimilars assuring patient safety.
 
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. The legislature made a modest reinvestment in 2013 to begin to right the ship.

Recommendation:  Continue the reinvestment in higher education to ensure access, quality and affordability.

For more information contact:

Chris Rivera, President & CEO, 206-456-9567
Patti Tenney, Senior Director, Public Affairs, 206-456-9566

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