Choosing the Right Model
Gottlieb believes the agency in New York “should be a public-private partnership. That’s the most successful model.” PPI, however, says the one-stop shop should be nestled within the state’s economic development agency, Empire State Development Corp (ESD).
ESD has had a disappointing record of advancing job growth, though. It has frequently shifted direction on initiatives likely due to frequent shifts in leadership and arrival of new governors. As Briccetti correctly noted, ESD has traditionally taken a last-century approach to job attraction, with policies geared to headcount-heavy sectors like manufacturing.
It remains to be seen whether ESD will improve under its new chairman, Cuomo-appointee Kenneth Adams, who is Briccetti’s predecessor at the Business Council helm. Cuomo has also promised to create 10 regional economic councils, some of which are expected to include life science among the business sectors they wish to expand.
NCBC is set up as a public-private one-stop shop for the pharma and biotech industry in North Carolina. During its 2010 fiscal year, 73% of NCBC’s funds, or $14 million, came from the state. The rest, $5.2 million, came from the Golden Leaf Foundation as well as federal grants, contracts for services, and other sources. Golden Leaf is a nonprofit that uses state tobacco settlement funds to boost the state’s economy.
The Center has its own board and management, though not without ties to state government. NCBC’s president and CEO, Norris Tolson, once headed his state’s commerce, revenue, and transportation departments. However, functioning outside direct state control helps the Center focus more on biotech than politics.
Longer-term, a North Carolina model for New York would be ideal, NYBA executive director Nathan Tinker, Ph.D., told GEN. But short-term, he added, the one-stop shop should be tied to ESD, since Governor Cuomo will soon merge the New York State Foundation for Science Technology and Innovation into ESD.
If New York opens a state-connected one-stop agency, it may emerge along the lines of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, created in 2009 by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Center, part of O’Malley’s $1.1 billion, 10-year Bio2020 initiative, operates on $3.8 million in state funds—a figure set to stay flat in FY 2012.