Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maryland First, Then The World?

Two recent stories in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun about an overnight camp-out for Maryland state biotech tax credits caught our eye. We were curious. Did CEOs of the local companies wear pajamas on the street? Did you lose your place in line if Mother Nature called? Were any deals signed on hot dog wrappers at 4 am?

The Post and Sun suggested the scene recalled camping out for concert tickets. May we suggest another image: bread lines in the great depression.

After all, what we are talking about here is a $6 million tax subsidy. That's better than a punch in the nose, but worth lining up for? Well, in today's financing climate, it most definitely is. And expect to hear more pleas for new tax credits on the federal level soon.

Jonathan Cohen, president and CEO of Rockville, Md. diagnostic device firm 20/20 GeneSystems, tells us that he is part of an “an ad hoc coalition of small biotech companies” trying to get legislation introduced in Congress to establish a federal tax credit for biotechs. Cohen was the driving force behind Maryland’s Biotechnology Tax Credit, now in its third year and apparently more popular than ever.

Cohen says the goal is for a bill to drop this year, although that would be just the start of a much longer process. For now, he is mum on the details, other than to say the credit would be different in design from Maryland's. When there is more to report, we will.

While you wait, check out “The Pink Sheet” DAILY’s take on the spectacle of CEOs and other staff from about 14 biotechs lining up overnight outside the Baltimore offices of the state Department of Business and Economic Development.

--Joseph Haas

No comments: