As the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, and related industries in the state continue to grow and innovate, they will now have a greater voice with the creation of the Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council.

As part of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the council will represent the interests of biotech and biopharma companies—large and small—at the State Capitol and regulatory agencies, providing greater advocacy support and resources, and developing an overall plan for better positioning these companies at the state, regional, and national level.

The council is led by CBIA’s Paul Pescatello.

“These industries represent new and emerging technologies as well as key economic drivers for the state,” said Joe Brennan, CBIA’s president and CEO.

“As they develop lifesaving medicines, new medical treatments, critical medical devices, and other innovative products made possible with life sciences technology, we need to make sure that Connecticut is a great, desirable place for these companies to operate and invest.”

Policy development

As part of the Bioscience Growth Council’s government advocacy, Pescatello will work to enhance and secure important policies, such as the research and development tax credit for both established and early-stage companies.

“Biotechnology and related industries are a keystone for Connecticut’s future,” said Pescatello.

“The value they bring to the state and, most importantly, to patients and consumers, will be more effectively represented and communicated by the deep bench of government affairs talent and resources at CBIA.”

Tax credits foster innovation, spur employment, create better opportunities for long-lasting careers, and make Connecticut a more attractive place for companies looking to relocate.

Such policies also drive economic activity and help Connecticut compete with other states and countries.

Research

The council supports well-funded basic, translational, and industry research, coupled with robust clinical and product development, which leads to new medicines on pharmacy shelves, new medical device options for patients, and higher quality foods for consumers.

“The Bioscience Growth Council will be a highly effective means to amplify the voice of Connecticut biotechnology,” said Mary Kay Fenton, executive vice president and chief financial officer with New Haven-based Achillion Pharmaceuticals.

“If we want this important industry to grow in Connecticut, policymakers need to know the issues that are important to us.

“Tax policy, intellectual property protection, and infrastructure improvements—including transportation—are critical to us and are paramount to the mission of the Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council.”

“With the establishment of the Bioscience Growth Council, the biopharmaceutical sector is connected directly to the larger Connecticut business community,” said Jim Baxter, senior vice president, development, at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield.

“That broader community, in turn, will benefit greatly from the talent pool, innovation, and economic growth biopharma helps bring into Connecticut.”

Startup pipeline

While the state’s established biopharmaceutical firms are critically important, also essential to the health of Connecticut biopharma is nurturing a pipeline of startup ventures.

Recognizing that, the council is committed to collaborating on public policy concerns with the state’s entrepreneurial and economic development organizations.

“This council will be an indispensable bridge between early-stage companies, scientists, and the established biopharma community,” said Usha Pillai, Ph.D., president of Aria Management Consulting.

Pillai, who worked in new medicine development at Pfizer for over 15 years, also worked with Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE) and the New Haven Economic Development Corporation to create Bioscience ClubhouseCT.

“It ties one of the state’s key economic development efforts—the recruitment and retention of biotech R&D, including The Jackson Laboratory—to one of its most important business sectors.”

In addition to representing the biotech and biopharma industries at the state level, Pescatello serves as president of the New England Biotech Association, chairs We Work for Health Connecticut, and works closely with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).