Bioscience leaders meet in Newark

    The Greater Philadelphia area, including Delaware, is one of the most robust bioscience communities in the nation. But there’s always room for improvement.

    The Greater Philadelphia area, including Delaware, is one of the most robust bioscience communities in the nation. But there’s always room for improvement.

    And that’s why Wednesday, hundreds of individuals, businesses and organizations from the region met in Newark for the Delaware Bioscience Business Roundtable.

    Bioscience is an extremely diverse community made up of, among others, the biotechnology, life sciences and biomedical research industries. And it includes local companies such as DuPont and AstraZeneca.

    According to Delaware Bioscience Association President Bob Dayton the key issues today depend on the size of the company. For smaller companies it’s money. Dayton says in a tough economy they can’t get the capital they need to get going.

    Bob Dayton, President of the Delaware Bioscience Association, discusses the size and importance of the industry in the Philadelphia area, including Delaware.
    [audio: /delaware/090812bcbio.mp3]

    For larger companies Dayton says some of the big issues are price controls and patent reform.

    “With patents you want to make sure that those people who are inventing new compounds and new drugs get protection,” Dayton said. “So that by the time they get to the marketplace and by the time they’ve invested a billion dollars they have a chance to recover that investment. So you need good patent protection to make that happen.”

    Another issue is the retention and development of bioscience jobs. In Delaware there are currently about 12 thousand people employed in an industry known for its high-paying jobs. Dayton says he’s been working closely with Governor Jack Markell’s administration to attract opportunities of all sizes.

    “They don’t necessarily have to be home runs or grand slams,” he said. “There are lots of small companies that are developing new compounds and small companies that are doing research and providing services.”

    There’s also increased competition from around the globe. Bioscience Business Roundtable Executive Director Frank Howard says companies are going to places like Singapore, India, Pakistan and other countries that have significantly reduced labor costs. It’s a reality, he says, this region needs to address immediately.

    “It has to focus more on home-grown efforts to compete within the global marketplace,” he said. “Producing the type of people that will allow the companies to be competitive and make sure to attract the type of funding and type of companies that will increase the industry in the region.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.