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Barbados launches bid to attract biotech companies with US$20M lab and new regulatory authority


Bridgetown, Barbados – The island nation of Barbados has unveiled two new initiatives to attract leading-edge biotechnology companies to the island nation.

The main thrusts of the plan are the creation of a US$20-million state-of-art laboratory for research and development and the establishment of a regulatory authority to oversee biotech R&D to international standards.

“Because of these initiatives, we believe that biotechnology companies will find this country to be an ideal location in which to operate”, says Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister of Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados. “They build on the existing reasons why Barbados is widely recognized as a great place for investment, including our highly educated work force, our low-tax environment and extensive tax and investment-protection treaty network, our sophisticated business infrastructure, our fiscal incentives for investment, and, of course, our quality of life and friendly people.”

Dr David Estwick, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, says his government has recognized that “start-up biotech companies often face two major problems when establishing themselves: first, the large capital investment required to secure laboratory space and equipment; and second, the delays caused by the lengthy R&D approval processes imposed by the regulatory agencies of developed countries, which are often exacerbated by backlogs and cross-agency bureaucracy,” he adds.

He says that the new national regulatory authority will operate to the same rigorous international standards as the FDA and other regulators, but with no significant backlog or difficult bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. He says this will help biotech companies to cut more than a year off the R&D approval process.

“Similarly, by providing government-owned land for the creation of a state-of-the-art biotech R&D centre in a US$20-million joint venture arrangement with the private sector, we will provide rental space for entrepreneurs seeking to develop new biotech products to pursue their visions,” he says.