U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today joined U.S. Congressman John Delaney (MD-6) in hosting a roundtable discussion with executives in Montgomery County's bio-tech industry about future growth of the bio-tech industry and prospects for funding during sequestration.
Sequestration -- automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of $85 billion -- is in effect through the FY2013 budget that ends September 30. The bio-tech industry is concerned that sequestration will limit their funding for the research and development of new drugs and other products and increase the amount of time it takes to get FDA approvals.
"As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, it's important for me to understand the many factors -- including the effects of sequestration -- that affect job growth and future success of the bio-tech industry," said Senator Cardin. "Maryland is one of the leaders in the bio-tech industry and I want to be sure we are doing all we can to maintain that edge and to attract new businesses and start-ups to Montgomery County and our state."
"When it comes to good government, feedback from the private sector is incredibly important. The bio-tech industry has been one of Maryland's fastest growing sectors and we should work to maintain that momentum. The I-270 Bio-Tech Corridor is integral to the economic health of our state," said Congressman Delaney. "We need to listen to industry leaders, learn about the impacts of sequestration, and focus on how we can help businesses become more competitive so our workers can thrive."
Montgomery County is one of the nation's leaders in the bio-tech field with approximately 300 companies, according to the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. The bio-tech industry also provides jobs for highly-skilled workers, accounting for approximately 2 percent of Montgomery County's workforce, which is expected to grow 6 percent in the next decade.
Many Maryland bio-tech companies rely on the federal government to fund research in the life science field, including clinical trials for the development of various drugs, including those to fight cancer. Federal grants for Maryland's life science activities amounted to more than $1.5 billion in 2010. The biotech industry also relies on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approvals.