BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In his State of the State address, the governor outlined an ambitious agenda for the next four years, including innovation in the bio-tech industry in Maryland.

Mary Bubala  has more.

The way Governor Martin O’Malley sees it, either we grow it or we lose it.

The University of Maryland’s BioPark will break ground on another new building this year. The 10-acre research park is growing. It currently houses 20 high-tech companies.

The BioPark’s vice president of research and development says the industry is ready to answer the governor’s call.

“We’ve got all the ingredients here,” said Vice President Jim Hughes, BioPark. “We’ve got wonderful academic institutions– University of Maryland, of course, and Johns Hopkins, the federal facilities, National Institutes of Health, and we’ve got 400 bio-tech companies already here.”

The governor would like to double that number. In his State of the State address, he asked lawmakers to support a program called “Invest Maryland.” It would unlock $100 million in venture capital, helping bio-tech start-ups have an edge.

“Passing this legislation could well be the difference between running ahead and running in place, creating thousands of jobs in Maryland or seeing them go to other states, creating the next world-changing company here in Maryland or watching it happen in Massachusetts,” O’Malley said. “The choice is ours.”

“We’ve got room for another eight buildings,” said Hughes.

Hughes says seed money would help attract and grow the bio-tech industry in Maryland, setting up the potential for hundreds of new jobs.

“The smaller companies are desperate to get a venture capital,” Hughes said. “To create a new drug is very expensive, very time-consuming.”

But well worth it. Right now, the University of Maryland’s BioPark employs 550 people. The number grows with each new company and each new building. 

In 2010, O’Malley was named the bio governor of the year at an international conference.


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