Monday, October 5, 2009

The Life Sciences in Minnesota

Last week, I gave you the 50,000 foot overview of the life sciences industry in North Carolina. As you will recall, 35 states have implemented policies to facilitate the growth of their life science industry. Today, its Minnesota’s turn.

Minnesota—The North Star State
In contrast to the state-guided efforts in North Carolina that I discussed last week, Minnesota has traditionally relied on its research institutions and medical device industry to guide development in the life sciences.

In 2005, the state legislature created the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota (BBAM) to guide life sciences development. BBAM is comparable to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in scope and mission—to guide the development of the life sciences industry within the state. BBAM has established a resource network to help new company establish, and provides business consulting services. BBAM is assessing workforce and educational gaps, but does not have training programs in place to the extent that NCBiotech does. BBAM also lacks many of the financing options that NCBiotech provides.

One of the most striking differences between the life sciences industry of Minnesota and North Carolina is the amount of state support given to each state’s life science centers. BBAM receives less than 5% of the amount of funding that NCBiotech received from the state of North Carolina. NCBiotech is staffed by 61 experts; BBAM has 8 employees. The differences in manpower and resources have an effect on the scope, research and effectiveness of each center. Imagine trying to do the work of 61 expects with only 8 employees!

There was some exciting news for Minnesota last year when biotechnology titan G. Steven Burrill announced a goal of attracting $1 billion of private venture capital to the state for new life science companies. As you will recall, VC is one those all-important sources of financing that new business need.

My 50,000 foot recommendation for Minnesota—it’s time to make a serious investment in the life sciences by providing access to financing for entrepreneurs. Minnesota has great research infrastructure in place, but the financing options and incentives just aren’t there for new businesses. And to the researchers at those great research institutions—quit playing Minnesota nice in your labs! Let’s see some cut-throat research with the goal of commercialization!

Next week, I’ll provide an overview of our final state—Kansas. Stop back then for a discussion of free money, Democrats and Republicans who actually agree with each other, and flying cows! (No, I’m not kidding on any of the above!)

This is Part 6 of 8 in our Entrepreneurship series.
Part 1 - Science and Entrepreneurship: An Introduction
Part 2 - It's All About the Ideas (and Money)
Part 3 - Financing a New Business in the Life Sciences
Part 4 - Leading Life Science States
Part 5 - Life Sciences in North Carolina
Part 6 - Life Sciences in Minnesota
Part 7 - Life Sciences in Kansas
Part 8 - Life Science Industry Overall

No comments:

Post a Comment