Wisconsin Bioscience Fund Makes Good Business Sense

  • Contact: George Goodno
  • Phone: 202-962-6660
  • Email: ggoodno@bio.org
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Self-Funding Program Supported by Leading Biotech Trade Associations


WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2011)The Wisconsin Next Generation Jobs Act, a bipartisan special legislative session bill submitted at the request of Governor Scott Walker, would provide investment capital and other types of funding to bioscience companies operating within the state.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Van Wangaard (R-Racine), Rep. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), Rep. Louis Molepske Jr (D-Stevens Point) and Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), is an innovative take on successful capital investment initiatives enacted in other states. If signed into law, the bill would take effect in 2012, and allocate 95 percent of payroll taxes from new biotech industry jobs into the Next Generation Jobs Reserve fund.

"The most important return on investment from this initiative would be the creation of additional high-skill, high-wage jobs and an opportunity to retain the best and brightest students from Wisconsin's world-class universities," said Bryan Renk, Executive Director of BioForward, a trade organization representing Wisconsin's bioscience industry. "We are looking forward to continuing the positive work started on this bill - with strong industry support, the Governor’s endorsement and very positive bipartisan support by the authors and others in the Senate and Assembly."

"The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is very supportive of Wisconsin's commitment to expanding the bioscience industry as an important economic driver and employment base that advances our nation’s global leadership in innovation," said Pete Pellerito, Interim Vice President of State Government Relations and Alliance Development at BIO. "If enacted into law, this program would nurture innovative companies that seek to develop cures and breakthrough medicines, improve crop yields, discover cleaner forms of home-grown energy, and provide protection from pandemic and bio-terror threats."

The self-funding program will be capped at $50 million annually and $500 million over the 15-year life of the program. An independent group of 12 biotech business leaders and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board would oversee the provision of loans, grants and direct investments to qualifying businesses. Returns on the investment and repayment of loans would be reinvested into the same fund.

This legislation compliments existing and successful early-stage funding sources including venture capital, angel investments, SBIR/STTR funding and bank loans. Any bioscience company certified to apply for a grant, loan or investment from the Reserve must provide matching funds from another equity source.

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BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.