Governor Jay Inslee Vetoes Defunding of Critical Life Sciences Fund

April 04, 2014 – Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association

SEATTLE – Today Governor Jay Inslee vetoed legislation which would have defunded and eliminated the Life Science Discovery Fund (LSDF). The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and its members applaud Governor Inslee’s leadership and decisive action to preserve a critical component of Washington’s life science ecosystem.

Established by Governor Gregoire and the State Legislature in 2005, the LSDF provides a critical lifeline that provides momentum to propel promising technologies from our state’s research institutions into the private sector. Chris Rivera, President & CEO, Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) said, “Governor Inslee has recognized the importance of investing in early stage life science technology that, in the past, has led to such developments as ultrasound imaging, bone marrow transplantation, the defibrillator, several groundbreaking biologics for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and many other healthcare innovations that were discovered and developed in the state of Washington.

With a stroke of his pen, Governor Inslee preserved a program that is a clear economic success. LSDF grants have led to $450 million in additional dollars flowing into the state. One is unlikely to see similar returns from other state agencies. The state has seen the following returns on its $79M investment:
>$481M in follow-on funding from federal and private sources
>$67 million in health-care cost savings
>3,500 direct and indirect jobs anticipated over the next three years due to LSDF funding and follow-on funding enabled by LSDF support
>$1 billion dollars in statewide economic activity years due to LSDF funding and follow-on funding enabled by LSDF support
>30 startup companies formed or expanded in Washington Tangible improvements in health, including hundreds of lives saved

Governor’s Inslee’s leadership and action today means the LSDF can continue to bring those returns to Washington’s citizens. We appreciate his leadership and look forward to working with the Governor to ensure that we have a strong, supportive business climate in which to continue to grow the state’s fifth largest industry sectors, the life sciences so that WBBA’s members can continue to heal, fuel and feed the world.

Rivera went on to say, “We have the potential to make Washington the global leader in life science innovation and healthcare delivery in the next ten years. But without the full support and sharing of this vision by our legislative leaders, we may well see this potential drift away to other states that have the support of their leaders. The life sciences is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the state. It does not make either economic or competitive sense to withdraw proven economic tools that support job growth, innovation and help us maintain our competitiveness. This is certainly not in the best interest of the state of Washington.”

Maura Little, Department of Commerce, Director of Economic Development for the Life Science and Global Health Sector concurred, “As we look toward the future of the life science and global health sectors in Washington State, we must be proactive in creating a more robust environment conducive to growth of this industry. Washington State has a history of developing and advancing technologies that will improve patient access to high quality and low cost care. We have what it takes to become the world leader in life science innovation and healthcare delivery. In order to realize this potential, we will do more to support this industry.”

About the WBBA

The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) has over 630 member organizations and is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association serving the life sciences industry in the state of Washington. It is completely resourced and supported by its members, including organizations engaged in, or supportive of, research, development and commercialization of life science innovation.

The WBBA’s Mission; “To support and help to grow Washington State’s life science ecosystem”, drives its core strategic focus on;
Commercialization – mentoring start-up life science companies that eventually raise capital, commercialize IP and employ people.
Access to capital – not just financial capital, but also intellectual, as well as human capital is a top priority for us on behalf of our members.
Human Capital – initiatives focused on the recruitment, retention and the development of the talent needed to grow our life science community.
Public Policy – we advocate for, and increasing the awareness about, our life science sector to our local, state and federal representatives.
Purchasing Power – Our members save money by purchasing goods and services from our 18 purchasing partners.

For further information contact:

Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association
Dennis Kroft, Vice President of Marketing & Membership
(206) 456-9565 or