Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Major Economic Development Package Clears Committee

DENVER—Today the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved HB08-1001, which would extend the Bioscience Research Grant Program to make $26.5 million available to universities and start-up companies to energize one of Colorado's most promising industries.

Sponsored by Senator Bob Bacon (D-Ft Collins), the bill would build on the award-winning grant program created in 2006 and re-authorized last year. The bill could provide as much as $150,000 per project to Colorado research institutions, accelerating the development of new technologies and new Colorado-based companies.  It will also make up to $250,000 available to startup companies in Colorado.

"Passing this bill today means great progress for economic development in Colorado," Bacon said. "Fort Collins is one of the top cities in the nation recognized for its strides in improving entrepreneurship development, which is a key part in retaining and growing local bioscience companies."

The grant program is a major part of the economic development package announced last fall.  A key economic driver for Colorado, estimates suggest the biosciences industry already contributes $415 million in state revenues each year. To date, the program has provided funding for 27 projects at institutions across the state, including CU, CSU, UNC, National Jewish Medical & Research Center and the University of Denver.

Research from the program has led to potential new treatments for schizophrenia, HIV, cancer, lung disease, and technologies that can be applied to environmental pollution, gait problems from chronic illness, optical microscopy and several other diagnostic tools and medical devices.

HB08-1001 next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.