Thursday, April 24, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter today signed into law a measure that will provide $26.5 million to expand Colorado's bioscience industry by expediting the transfer of research from the lab to the marketplace.
House Bill 1001, sponsored by Rep. Jim Riesberg and Sen. Bob Bacon, establishes the Colorado Bioscience Research Grant Program. The bill is the first piece of Gov. Ritter's 2008 business-development package. Additional bills are expected to be signed in the coming weeks. The bioscience grant program will provide $26.5 million over five years to research institutions and private companies. Research institutions are eligible for $150,000 and companies $250,000.
"Through this investment we'll see significant returns – both financial returns and in terms of improving the quality of life for Coloradans through improved health," Gov. Ritter said. "This will take Colorado to the next level and allow us to compete on a national and international level. With the work being done at the Anschutz Medical Campus at Fitzsimons, in Boulder and in Fort Collins, Colorado can be a global leader in the bioscience field and in developing treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's, tuberculosis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and West Nile disease."
Colorado is home to more than 400 bioscience companies that provide more than 16,000 direct and indirect jobs, with an average salary of about $70,000 per year.
"It's a great day for research universities and the high-tech companies that come to Colorado for the intellectual capital produced here," Sen. Bacon said. "For too long we have been focused on the industries of yesterday, and I'm proud to stand today with the Governor as we build the 'new energy' industries of tomorrow."  
As Gov. Ritter signed the bill into law, he also welcomed Colorado's first Nobel Laureate, Tom Cech, back toColorado. Cech has served as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland since 2000. "Tom is truly one of Colorado's greatest treasures," Gov. Ritter said. "He shares our vision of creating a new 'science' economy in Colorado."
Also taking part in today's event were Denise Brown, executive director of the Colorado BioScience Association, and Dr. Barry Beaty, a Colorado State University researcher.