State Policy Priorities

STATE POLICY PRIORITIES 2019

The CBSA team leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry and our members who have dedicated their careers to improving health care for patients in Colorado and across the world. We work every day to create an innovation-friendly business environment. Our policy activities focus on proactive and reactive legislation. Our commitment to strong connections with federal, state and local officials fosters a culture that promotes bioscience breakthroughs. The work underway within our industry is a painstaking endeavor, but the results achieved are invaluable to the patients we serve and the healthcare industry as a whole. At CBSA we work every day to create an innovation-friendly business environment ensuring that as an industry we deliver value to patients and our state’s economy while creating the next generation of treatments and cures.

 

Detailed information is available below.

2019 STATE LEGISLATION: CALL TO ACTION

1. Promote Increased Access to Capital

Colorado remains a competitive player within the bioscience industry, but there is a critical lack of funding for early stage research, development and product commercialization within the state. With federal funding dollars more difficult to attract, and venture capital investment looking for later-stage deals, seed capital is limited and highly competitive. A major priority for CBSA is supporting the sector’s need for improved access to capital.

CBSA will continue advocate and foster the growth of current successful access to capital programs including the Advanced Industry Grant Program and the Advanced Industry Investor Tax Credit. But will also advocate for additional state bioscience capital funding programs that address the essential elements to help ensure a thriving industry. CBSA, is looking for opportunities to attract new investments and over the next legislative session is assessing funding models that could attract private and public support. Along with collaboration partners, CBSA is pursuing a model that would provide a new source of state-supported capital. We are calling it SOAR Colorado.

2. Protect Patient Access and Help Patients Understand Healthcare Costs

The Colorado Bioscience Association (CBSA) is committed to ensuring that patients have the care they need by improving access to innovative drugs, medical devices, and lifesaving therapies. The work of CBSA and the bioscience industry is invaluable to patients and the healthcare industry in that we improve patient’s quality of life and offer cost savings to the system as a whole. At CBSA, we work every day to create an innovation-friendly business environment ensuring we deliver value to patients and our state’s economy while our member companies search for the next generation of treatments and cures. CBSA will proactively work to advance proposals which improve competition, lower out-of-pocket costs, create opportunities for negotiation, and drive incentives for lower list prices of medicines. It is a priority for CBSA to educate patients about how drugs are priced, bringing transparency to the healthcare debate; and will actively help craft legislation to this end which will both protect patients and the industry from over regulation.

3. Protect Innovation and Promote Bioscience

Colorado is home to more than 720 bioscience companies, whose ground-breaking research, technologies and therapies are transforming the way patients are treated for a wide range of diseases. Successfully getting new therapies and technologies to market relies on the ability to attract private capital to fund these is a challenging endeavor. The private capital markets depend on a public policy environment that supports innovation and incentives and offers predictability on the path from research to market development. As new laws and regulations are proposed, CBSA will work to ensure these efforts will not: impede research, place undue burden on the industry, or have any unintended consequences as a result of their passage. It is a top priority for CBSA to promote the bioscience innovation story of our members who have dedicated their careers to improving health care for patients in Colorado and across the world.

4. Advocate for opportunities within the Colorado State Budget

Colorado’s economic conditions remain one of the strongest in the nation, yet every year the State is faced with budget tough budget decisions. As the Colorado legislature determines where cuts need to be made, CBSA will work to ensure key priorities and past legislative efforts remain intact. CBSA will work to prevent other erosive measures which could impede innovation directly, create an unfriendly business environment or threaten the growth and prosperity of the bioscience industry in Colorado.

5. Advocate for a healthy tax and regulatory environment that encourages business development

Colorado ranks 16th for best corporate tax system and business-friendly tax climate according to the Tax Foundation's 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index. CBSA will advocate for a tax and regulatory environment that encourages business development and growth in the bioscience industry.

6. Build an educated workforce for our growing industry and State

CBSA supports workforce initiatives to create a talent pipeline of employees for our growing industry. According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT), nearly 43 percent of bioscience-related occupations in Colorado require a high school diploma or equivalent, while 38 percent require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of the bioscience-related occupations, about 49 percent require some sort of on-the-job training. It is a priority to CBSA that we build an educated workforce, our success of the industry depends on it.

CBSA supports efforts to enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and encourages the development of educational pathways, internship programs and workforce development initiatives.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ON PRIORITIES AND CBSA ADVOCACY EFFORTS:

PROMOTE INCREASED ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Colorado remains a competitive player within the bioscience industry, but there is a critical lack of funding for early stage research, development and product commercialization within the state. With federal funding dollars more difficult to attract, venture capital investment looking for later-stage deals, and limited, highly competitive seed capital, it is imperative that CBSA advocates for current and additional state bioscience capital funding programs that address the essential elements to help ensure a thriving industry.

In Colorado, we continue to see a decline of total investment capital across all industries with venture capital market shares consolidating into hubs such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New England, and New York. For Colorado to remain competitive, we need a comprehensive capital formation plan to support the development of entrepreneurial small business growth in the state. A major priority for CBSA is supporting the sector’s need for improved access to capital. In concert with the Colorado General Assembly and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (OEDIT), CBSA has worked with the Colorado General Assembly to bring forward programs to help alleviate the challenge. The effort resulted in the formation of critical bioscience capital funding programs, including:

Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit

  • Established in 2009
  • Helps Colorado companies attract early-stage capital
  • Supports and helps Colorado remain competitive nationally
  • Used by 58 bioscience investors in 2015, who invested more than $4 million in 15 companies

Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Programs

  • Established in 2006
  • Provided $5.77 million to Colorado bioscience companies in 2017
  • Awarded $52 million in grants to bioscience entities since inception
  • Created an economic impact including: 67 new bioscience companies, 761 direct jobs, $521 million in additional investment in bioscience

These programs encourage public-private partnerships, increasing access to early stage capital. They also send a strong message from the state that Colorado is open for business and will support the advancements in high-tech fields.

To build upon the state programs and encourage additional investment, CBSA believes the state needs to establish a sustainable venture capital funding program to grow emerging companies and to encourage additional investments within Colorado. CBSA, is looking for opportunities to attract new investments and over the next legislative session is assessing funding models that could attract private and public support. Along with collaboration partners, CBSA is pursuing a model that would provide a new source of state-supported capital. We are calling it SOAR Colorado. For more information on this initiative click here.

PROMOTE A SUPPORTIVE TAX AND REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

Colorado continually ranks in the top twelve states for bioscience. A friendly tax and regulatory environment is critical to remain competitive to grow the bioscience industry. Colorado ranks 16th for best corporate tax system and business-friendly tax climate according to the Tax Foundation's 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index. This business-friendly tax environment provides a competitive tax structure that rewards investments and business innovation.

For Colorado to maintain and increase jobs within the bioscience industry sector, a strong business climate is essential. CBSA supports efforts to modernize the state’s economic development incentives, develop new tax and business friendly programs, and efforts to preserve and protect a positive business climate in which our companies rely.

CBSA will work to prevent erosive measures that threaten the growth of the bioscience industry in Colorado, whether the measures impede innovation directly or create an unfriendly business environment to grow or attract new companies to the state. And CBSA will engage on issues that threaten or enhance the state’s tax, business and regulatory environment whether they present themselves as state legislation, local initiatives or ballot measures.

ENCOURAGE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The bioscience industry in Colorado is ranked by the State’s Office of Economic Development and International as one of the 14 major industry sectors in the State of Colorado. The Colorado BioScience Association has played a significant role in establishing and maintaining this status through carefully-crafted policy initiatives and dedicated advocacy efforts.

The Colorado bioscience industry grew 4.4 percent from 2012 to 2014. Currently the bioscience industry has over 725 companies with 30,000 direct employees and an average salary of over $90,000. The multiplier of indirect jobs for each direct job is 4.6, totaling over 159,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

Colorado is home to one of the largest concentrations of federally funded science and research labs in the nation, generating over $2.3 billion in net economic benefit in FY 2012. Thirty federal labs are located in the state which have contributed greatly to the evolution of Colorado’s bioscience industry. CBSA advocates the importance for Colorado to maintain these federal research centers to continue as a national leader in the bioscience industry and all high-tech sectors.

SUPPORT HIGHER EDUCATION AND PROMOTE UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER ACTIVITIES

Colorado is one of the nation's top bioscience industry clusters, which is a direct result of the research and education being conducted within the state’s academic institutions. Our research institutions are leaders in innovation and new company creation. With 20+ new bioscience start-ups forming each year from university research, supporting higher education, and promoting university research and technology transfer activities is a top priority for the Association.

CBSA’s top priorities to help support and create higher education and promote university research and technology transfer include:

  • Support ongoing initiatives at Colorado research institutions and develop partnerships between public institutions and private companies
  • Promote increased funding for Colorado’s higher education institutions for Coloradans to access high quality and affordable education

Build an Educated Workforce For Our Growing Industry

CBSA supports workforce initiatives to create a talent pipeline of employees for our growing industry. According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, nearly 43 percent of bioscience-related occupations in Colorado require a high school diploma or equivalent, while 38 percent require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of the bioscience-related occupations, about 49 percent require some sort of on-the-job training. It is a priority to CBSA that we build an educated workforce, our success of the industry depends on it.

CBSA supports efforts to enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and encourages the development of educational pathways, internship programs and workforce development initiatives.

 

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