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Governor Martin O'Malley Receives National Leadership Award on Stem Cell Research

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Date:
Location: Baltimore, MD

O'Malley delivers keynote address at World Stem Cell Summit; Announces landmark partnership with California creating bi-coastal collaboration on stem cell research

Governor Martin O'Malley delivered the keynote address today at the World Stem Cell Summit, held in Baltimore, where he received the National Leadership Award for the State's progress and investment in stem cell research. Following his address, Governor O'Malley witnessed the signing of a landmark agreement between the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), which administers the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), creating a first-of-its-kind bi-coastal collaboration on stem cell research.

"We're proud to be hosting the World Stem Cell Summit here in Maryland, where we have long been committed to supporting and promoting stem cell research even in times when we've faced federal opposition," said Governor O'Malley. "Today, it remains our goal and vision to make Maryland the most welcoming environment for stem cell research and all life sciences in the world. As we stand at our own cutting edge of history, these incredible human breakthroughs are helping to reawaken a commitment across the world to protecting the dignity of every individual."

Prior to the Governor's keynote address, he received the National Leadership Award as part of the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit. Since taking office, Governor O'Malley has spearheaded a number of strategic investments in Maryland's bioscience industry. In addition to creating the Life Science Advisory Board, he has been instrumental in securing funding for bio initiatives, including $56 million over three years for Maryland's Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby continuing Maryland's innovative leadership in the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine.

"The Genetics Policy Institute's Stem Cell Action Awards, presented at the World Stem Cell Summit, honor dedicated individuals and organizations that significantly advance the cause of stem cell research. These honorees are heroes. Their actions bring us closer to the day when scientific discoveries will translate into effective treatments and cures," said Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute, which puts on the Summit each year.

Following the Governor's address, he witnessed the signing of the agreement between CIRM and the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund and its administering organization. Through this collaboration, it is expected that researchers on both coasts ultimately may be invited to form teams that will submit applications jointly for funding through a process that builds upon routine procedures for each organization. For those applications that are approved, CIRM will fund the California researchers and TEDCO will fund the Maryland researchers. In short, the agreement will make it easier for researchers in California and Maryland to collaborate and obtain joint funding to broaden the potential pool of expertise that can be applied toward research in a specific area.

Maryland is home to one of the three largest stem cell funds in the entire United States, and unlike many others, the money goes directly to research labs, helping these institutions propel the potential for life saving solutions. The Stem Cell Research Fund has received $56 million in the last three years, supporting life-saving technologies and jobs that drive the economy of tomorrow. Investments already made support 141 stem cell research grants involving more than 350 researchers, physicians, lab technicians, and other personnel, in addition to an estimated 700 researchers indirectly funded at labs supporting these grants.

Since taking office, Governor O'Malley has spearheaded a number of strategic investments in Maryland's bioscience industry. In addition to creating a Life Sciences Advisory Board, the Governor launched the BIO 2020 initiative, a 10-year, $1.3 billion strategy for moving Maryland's bioscience industry forward. Under Governor O'Malley's leadership, Maryland's major research parks, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark, the Science and Technology Park in East Baltimore and the Montgomery College/Germantown Science and Technology Park, have undergone significant expansion. In addition, the State has attracted, or assisted in launch or expansion, of more than 50 bioscience companies in the last two years, including Aeras Global, OpGen, Life Technologies, Biomere, Akonni Biosystems and Emergent Biosolutions, creating or retaining an estimated 1,800 jobs.

Home to more than 400 bioscience companies and 50 research-intense federal institutes and centers, Maryland is well positioned in the global bioscience industry and has been recognized by the Milken Institute as one of the top tier states highly specialized in overall bioscience development. Since the early 1990s, Maryland has focused on bioscience development and was one of the first states to develop a strategic plan for the industry.

Over the years, strategic investments have helped Maryland's bioscience industry grow into one of the world's largest bioscience research complexes, known for its wealth of federal facilities, institutions of higher learning and concentration of highly trained bioscience researchers. From 2001 to 2006, the State's bioscience industry grew by nearly 15 percent, adding 3,200 jobs to top more than 25,000 bioscience jobs in Maryland. In addition, from 2002 to 2007, Maryland's university bioscience research soared, growing 44 percent from $877,000 to $1.3 billion. Today, Maryland's bioscience research complex is estimated to receive nearly $8 billion in R & D expenditures annually, ranking third only to California and New Jersey.

The 2009 World Stem Cell Summit is expected to attract more than 1,200 participates from 40 states and 27 countries throughout the world. The Conference includes 50 exhibitors, 200 sponsors, supporting organizations and media partners. This event in Baltimore is expected to generate an estimated $1 million in local expenditures, and tax revenues of $114,000 for the city and state.


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