Dear members and friends of Virginia Bio,
Phew! The federal election cycle is over. We congratulate all those who won elections, including President-elect Trump and Vice President- elect Pence. We also thank the candidates who were not successful in their bids for office for the enormous time and energy they put into elucidating the issues and providing a choice for the electorate, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and native son Senator Tim Kaine.
I recall words from the now-famous note left in the Oval Office on January 20, 1993 by George H W Bush for newly-inaugurated Bill Clinton: “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you.” Over the years candidates from both parties and for all offices who have come up short have echoed this sentiment in their own time and place, and with each such act of grace and political grit have strengthened our democratic republican system.
Virginia Bio is eager to work with all our elected officials and members of the Administration to develop our industry, to support the people, firms and organizations who are its face and hands, and thus to speed our work for the benefit of the people we seek to serve with treatments and cures, food and fuel.
But … curious about the impact of the Trump presidency and majority control of the US Senate and House by the Republicans? So am I. So, on Thursday, December 8, over the lunch hour, Jean Haggerty, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, BIO will share the latest news and her insights on what might happen in federal policy at our monthly Bioscience Commercialization luncheon series. The event is held in Richmond at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, but it is live streamed and archived on our website for those who can’t make it. Register now to join us in person, or join us by livestream at the time using this link.
Moving down ticket, our Congressional delegation post-election has a different look, due in part to redrawing district maps, retirements and the will of the people. Democrats increased their portion of the Commonwealth’s 11-member delegation to 4 from 3, with the Republicans dropping to 7. One first-time member won from each party. Our Representatives for the next two years will be: 1st Rob Wittman (R); 2nd Scott Taylor (R, first term); 3rd Bobby Scott (D); 4th Donald McEachin (D, first term); 5th Tom Garrett (R); 6th Bob Goodlatte (R); 7th Dave Brat (R); 8th Donald Beyer (D); 9th Morgan Griffith (R); 10th Barbara Comstock (R); and, 11th Gerald Connolly (D).
Let me pause here and ask your help. Representative Barbara Comstock has been a strong supporter of the tech and bio industry in Virginia since her days in the General Assembly and now as Chairwoman of Research and Technology Subcommittee for the House Committee on Science, Space, And Technology. She’s asked us to formulate ideas for subcommittee hearings to expose and explore important issues. I am talking with several you working to shape a hearing proposal on of the impact of reimbursement systems on innovation in bioscience and biomedicine. I would love to hear from any of you on this, or other important ideas. Call or email me at email@example.com.
Switching to the Commonwealth, with the Presidential election year behind us, the next 12 months will feature the campaigns for Virginia elected officials, including our three state wide officeholders, Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. We pledge to work with all the candidates to inform them of issues, to be a resource to them as they prepare their platforms, and to provide them contact with the women and men who comprise our industry.
Before election season, January will mark the beginning of our 45-day General Assembly Session. On December 6 or 7 (tbd soon) we’ll have a webinar over the lunch hour looking at the year ahead in the Virginia General Assembly. Please join us.
And mark your calendar to attend our annual legislative reception during the General Assembly, February 9, 2017.
Last year the Governor, Senate and House together strengthened and increased support for the bioscience economy. Since then, many hands from across the state have been busy building out two major new programs, the Virginia Research Investment Fund and GoVirginia. VBHRC was provided additional funding and an expanded mandate, and it has been moving ahead. Yet tax revenues beneath budget projections are causing the state to pull back from financial commitments it made in last year’s budget. We are working to spread the word about these policies, and help the build out of the new policies.
Among state policies which support the industry, tax credits are a significant tool. I hope you caught our recent webinar on state and federal R&D Tax Credits. In Virginia, the rules were changed this year expanding the scope and amounts of the exiting R&D tax credit, and a second and separate tax credit was established for companies who make large expenditures in the state on R&D. At the federal level, the credit was made permanent and modified in very significant and helpful ways. If you conduct R&D and are not up to date on these changes I urge you to get informed. Watch our webinar in our archives on the website here, or go to another of your favorite sources. But check it out.
On December 14, 23, we’ll finish our tax credit webinar series with a segment on state tax credits applicable to investors of bioscience companies in Virginia.
Finally, with all the statewide policy changes afoot, I want to highlight the role that economic development professionals play in support of our industry. These are the people who day by day help companies understand and make use of the various policies and tools at the local, regional and state level. Yesterday Virginia Bio mounted a day-long Bio Boot Camp attended by 25 Economic Development Professionals from across the state, in close cooperation with VEDP, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The goal was to help them go deeper into bioscience business across the state, with some key science and biobusiness concepts and terms, and to hear from the point of view of startups and growing bio companies. This is one more step toward our long-term goal to convince VEDP and our statewide economic development community to build domain expertise in commercial bioscience. This is necessary to successfully grow bioscience companies in and recruit companies to Virginia. Virginia Bio Members Rob Harris, CSO and COO, NEXT Bio-Research Services, Mike Grisham, CEO Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (the Catalyst) and Sharon Krueger, Director of Innovation Grants and Relationships, Dean's Office in the School of Medicine, UVA generously gave their time to describe the world from the startup and company point of view.
Many thanks to them, and all of you help us work for the industry and for our members day in and day out.