Policy on the Opinion Page
Chris Rivera has authored three op-eds focused on critical public policy issues of the life sciences industry. The op-eds published in the Seattle Times focused on intellectual property protection in trade agreements; incentives for biotech investment through sound policies on reimbursement and data exclusivity; the need for predictable regulations, investment capital and talented workers; and the importance of appropriate land use regulations in South Lake Union. Read them here: Seattle City Council should move forward on South Lake Union rezone; Protect Incentives for Biotech; Protect biotech in Trans-Pacific Partnership trade-agreement talks.
Washington State and the City of Seattle Declare July 10 Life Sciences Day 2013
Governor Jay Inslee declared July 10, 2013 to be Life Science Innovation Northwest Day in Washington state. Mayor Mike McGinn declared the same date Life Science Innovation Northwest Day in Seattle. The formal proclamations were on display at Life Science Innovation Northwest and can now be viewed at the WBBA office at 1551 Eastlake Ave E.
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New Mercury Medical Technologies Incubator grows out of State’s Innovation Partnership Zone Program
The Bothell Biomedical Manufacturing Innovation Zone has opened Mercury Medical Technologies (Mercury MedTech), a medical device incubator at Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland. Mercury MedTech can house up to four companies and also operates as a virtual incubator. Companies not physically located at Mercury may access advisors, vendors, and the prototyping capability of the in-house machine shop. Grants from the Washington State Department of Commerce and the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization provided initial funds to launch the program. Philips Healthcare donated furnishings and the City of Bothell donated computers. Innovations Zones were created by the State Legislature in 2008. Michael F. Langhout has been hired as the Executive Director. For more information, contact Michael Langhout at 425-269-3000.
Raising Expectations in our Public Schools
Good education is the key to preparing Washington’s children for tomorrow’s jobs in science. The life sciences are one of the fastest growing industries in Washington, yet Washington students haven’t been well prepared to compete for these jobs.
Recognizing the need to advance public education, this fall every K-12 public school in Washington is using new, higher learning standards, called the “Common Core” in math and English language arts. New science standards, called “Next Generation,” are also coming next year.
Higher expectations will equip our children with the knowledge and skills they need to compete in the global economy – making them ready for college and career, whether it’s in biotech or whatever they want to be when they grow up. Common Core: It’s real learning for real life. Learn more at www.ReadyWA.org.
Genetically modified organisms are increasingly a topic of conversation in society, the media and the internet. The many questions and answers are often charged with a lot of emotion ranging from optimism and excitement to skepticism and even fear. The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GMO crops on today’s market, but acknowledges that we haven’t always done the best job communicating about them. GMO Answers was created to answer your questions about how food is grown and to engage in a conversation. They invite people to “Join us. Ask tough questions. Be skeptical. Be open. We look forward to sharing answers.”
BIOPAC is WBBA’s nonpartisan political action committee. It is funded by WBBA members and proceeds from our Annual Golf Invitational. Contributions to BIOPAC help increase the life science sector’s voice in Washington State government through education, information and support for candidates who promote policy’s that help the life science industry to heal, feed and fuel the world. A contribution to the BIOPAC is an investment in the life sciences in Washington.
Building Relationships with Elected Officials
Elected officials play a significant role in helping to build and retain a strong and dynamic life sciences industry in Washington State. As a key strategy, WBBA engages on a regular basis with our elected officials at the local, state and federal level through tours, roundtables, meetings in DC, and events.
State Legislators Attend LSINW Reception
Thank you to the following state legislators who attended our Life Science Innovation Northwest Reception this past July: Senators David Frockt and Ed Murray and Representatives Roger Goodman, Cyrus Habib, Cindy Ryu, Larry Seaquist, and J.T. Wilcox.
Congressman Adam Smith meets with Life Science Leaders
Congressman Adam Smith conversing with John Wecker and Michael Killian of Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute (PNDRI); and Patti Tenney, WBBA.
On June 24, Representative Adam Smith toured Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute (PNDRI) and met with leaders from the life sciences community. Thank you to John Wecker, PNDRI President and Chief Executive Officer for hosting the event.
Life Sciences Roundtable and Tours with Governor Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee with Alexis Kaushansky at Seattle BioMed.
On July 23, Governor Jay Inslee and Brian Bonlender, Director of Commerce, joined leaders from the life sciences community in a roundtable discussion about Washington’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining life science organizations. Following that discussion the Governor and Mr. Bonlender toured Seattle BioMed and Integrated Diagnostics.
Repeal of Medical Device Excise Tax Still in Play
Hope remains that the Medical Device Excise Tax will be repealed. We thank Congresswomen Suzan DelBene and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Dave Reichert for cosponsoring HR 523 to repeal the tax and for making it a non-partisan issue. Thanks also go to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for voting in favor of device tax repeal during the Senate budget debate. We appreciate the understanding our Congressional members have for the life sciences here in the state.
We Work for Health DC Fly-In
In July, We Work for Health (WWFH) co-chairs Chris Rivera, WBBA and Bob Drewel, Puget Sound Regional Council along with Andrew Wells, Nyhus Communications and Patti Tenney, WBBA traveled to DC to participate in the WWFH Fly-In. We had the opportunity to meet with Senator Maria Cantwell, Representatives Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck, and Karen Summar of Representative McMorris Rodgers’ office regarding federal life sciences policies.
Patent Reform Roundtable
Thank you to Fenwick & West for hosting a recent patent reform roundtable. On August 13, local life science patent law experts met with Dave Brown, Counsel to Senator Patty Murray, to discuss concerns regarding specific strong patent protection for the life sciences. Topics discussed included the difference in the long life cycle of life sciences requiring a strong patent system which is different from the shorter development cycle of tech; the length of time from filing to issue of a patent; and the benefit of letting the patent office keep their fees for the purposes for which they have been collected. Participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to have such an open dialogue.
Add Your Voice
Advocacy is a powerful tool. WBBA’s strong, active Government Affairs Council works diligently to ensure a vigorous life science community here in Washington. Grassroots action can make all the difference on certain policy issues at every level of government. During the 2014 state session, we will be working to renew the R&D B&O Tax Credits as well as the Sales/Use Deferral Credits. Grassroots efforts will be a critical part of our effort to renew the credits. If you are willing to participate in grassroots initiatives, please contact Patti Tenney (or at 206-456-9566).