State Policy Priorities

Overarching State Policy Priorities

1 Promote Increased Access to Capital for Bioscience Companies

2 Promote a Supportive Tax and Regulatory Environment

3 Encourage Economic Development

4 Support Higher Education and Promote University Research and Technology Transfer Activities

 

Download 2017 Policy Brochure

1 Promote Increased Access to Capital

Explanation of Issue

Venture capital investments in Colorado bioscience companies totaled $1.019 billion from 2012 – 2015 with an additional $1.5 billion in acquisitions. 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.

 

The Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) in concert with the Colorado General Assembly have focused on this critical gap over the past 13 years. For example the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program (BDEGP) was created in 2006 to grow and expand bioscience research and accelerate the development of new medical technologies. Since inception, the program has had numerous successes, including:

  • creation of 49 new Colorado companies resulting in 445 direct jobs,
  • an additional $465.4 million in grants and investments,
  • 333 grants totaling more than $37 million awarded.

 

In 2013, the BDEGP model was expanded to create the Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant Program, which now furthers the growth of seven high-tech industry clusters, including bioscience. It is imperative for the state to continue to support the growth of the bioscience industry at its earliest stages in order to encourage the advancement of new company opportunities.

 

CBSA advocates for current and additional state bioscience capital funding programs that address these essential elements to help ensure a prosperous industry. CBSA believes the state needs to establish a sustainable venture capital funding program to grow emerging companies and to encourage additional investments within Colorado.

 

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2 Promote a Supportive Tax and Regulatory Environment

Explanation of Issue

Nearly every state in the nation is working to attract the bioscience industry through favorable policies. Colorado continually ranks in the top ten states for bioscience and is at risk of losing companies to other states or countries. A friendly tax and regulatory environment is critical to remain competitive to grow the bioscience industry in Colorado

 

Colorado’s regulatory environment is currently directed by Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Through the work of DORA, Colorado ranks in the top five states for growth prospects, economic freedom, entrepreneurial activity, the number of start-up businesses per capita and the best state for doing business. Ensuring DORA’s implementation of rules and procedures that protect consumers while also fostering a healthy business climate is crucial for Colorado to remain a top state to both live and conduct business.

 

Along with a business friendly regulatory environment, Colorado provides a competitive tax structure that rewards investments and business innovation. Colorado currently ranks 11th according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s “Small Business Survival Index,” primary due to a fairly low corporate income and capital gains tax rate, low gas and diesel taxes, and a low workers compensation cost. However, Colorado has a relatively high property tax rate. There are many factors contributing to these rankings that specifically impact the bioscience sector, one of which occurred in 2009 when the General Assembly successfully changed the state’s tax structure to a single sales factor apportionment for corporate income tax.

 

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3 Encourage Economic Development

Explanation of Issue

Colorado has a competitive advantage over other states working to grow a bioscience cluster: The state has identified bioscience as a targeted industry cluster, with continued growth in number of companies and employees. The Colorado bioscience industry grew 4.4% from 2012 to 2014. Currently the bioscience industry has over 720 companies with 30,000 direct employees and an average salary of over $90,000. The multiplier of indirect jobs for each direct job is 5.3, 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.

 

At least seven of the 30 federal facilities conduct bioscience related research:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Disease (CDC)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP)
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
  • Crops Research Laboratories (CRS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Research Center
  • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
  • 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.

 

 

 

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4 Support Higher Education and Promote University Research and Technology Transfer Activities

Explanation of Issue

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. Colorado ranks 11th overall for research and development spending per capita. Colorado State University research expenditures reached $332 million in fiscal year 2016 and research faculty in the University of Colorado system secured over $924 million in sponsored research funding during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

 

With 20+ new bioscience start-ups forming each year from university research and continual basic research leading to new discoveries, supporting higher education, and promoting university research and technology transfer activities is a top priority for the Colorado BioScience Association. Additionally, CBSA supports workforce initiatives to create a talent pipeline of employees for our growing industry.

 

Ranking third for individuals with college degrees Colorado is recognized for its highly educated workforce. However,we know that by 2020, 76% of Colorado jobs will require some post-secondary education and currently, only 22 of every 100 graduates achieve that credential. In fact, 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.

 

CBSA’s top three priorities to help support 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
  • 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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