Tuesday, May 08, 2012


At a commercial real estate seminar last week, Anirban Basu said that from 2003 to 2010, the biotech industry accounted for one third of all jobs created in Maryland. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Maryland lags behind San Diego, Boston, the Research Triangle in North Carolina and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett in creating a sustainable, successful biotech cluster.

It turns out that the regions greatest biotech research institutions like the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and the Food and Drug Administration in White Oak may be part of the problem. Anirban said it is a mindset problem that keeps the local biotech industry from capitalizing on opportunities.

“When someone sneezes in Palo Alto or Cambridge, researchers try to figure out how to make a buck from it. When someone sneezes in the Baltimore / Washington corridor researchers submit a grant to study it.”

Dr. Judy Britz is trying to change this. She is formerly the President and CEO of Cylex in Columbia and now serves as the Executive Director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center. She hopes to alter this grant writing mindset by embedding private sector  professionals in research departments who can recognize commercial opportunities and capitalize on them.

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