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New strategies aim to double BC biotech industry in five years


Vancouver, BC April 24, 2003 British Columbia’s biotechnology industry could double the number of companies, attract large revenue-generating biotechnology firms and create more than 5,000 new jobs within five years, says a strategic report presented to British Columbia’s Minister of Competition, Science and Enterprise Rick Thorpe.

The report, entitled ‘Promoting Growth of the Biotechnology Industry in British Columbia’, was commissioned by industry association BC Biotech in collaboration with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and British Columbia law firm Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy. Recommendations include both public policy changes to stimulate jobs and investment in British Columbia’s biotech sector.

The six priority recommendations for an improved biotech economy in British Columbia are:

– Introduce employee stock option credits to British Columbia-based research and development companies

– Expand the refundable provincial research & development tax credit program to all British Columbia-based companies

– Introduce a five-year provincial personal income tax exemption for foreign researchers and other skilled labour

– Introduce a provincial tax exemption for income related to the exploitation of intellectual property developed in British Columbia

– Extend loss carry-forwards to 15 years

– Introduce a refundable provincial tax credit on research and development labour costs.

Minister Thorpe responded to the report by saying that his government intends the province to become one of the world’s top-10 centres for biotechnology, and he "will commit resources within my Ministry to work in partnership with BC Biotech to explore the implementation of these recommendations."