Even in a time of recession and budget deficits, some projects just cannot be shelved for very long: road and bridge repairs, rescuing cultural resources such as the Peabody Conservatory and projects that eventually could pave the way to major new economic growth, such as the proposed $17-million Maryland Bioprocessing Facility, a priority item for the Department of Economic and Employment Development.
Here's why: Maryland, a national leader in biotechnology research, looks to its major assets, the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, to provide critical mass for entrepreneurial spinoffs. Maryland is third in the nation in the number of biotechnology firms, after California and Massachusetts.
Capitalizing on laboratories' discoveries can be as difficult as finding them, however. That's because the costs to produce enough of a new biotech product to satisfy Food and Drug Administration field-test requirements are greater than most research firms can pay.