BioFlorida advocates on behalf of its members and the industry. Below please see our 2013 Legislative priorities.
Promote State Biotechnology Competitiveness – In order to make Florida more competitive with other states, BioFlorida supports the creation of tax incentives to attract more biotechnology companies to the state. BioFlorida supports incentives to spur growth of Florida’s biotechnology industry and the continuation of programs already implemented.
- State Specific Research and Development Tax Credit Program
Maintain state specific research and development (R&D) tax credit program initially adopted in 2011. The program spurs high-wage, sustainable job growth that mirrors the federal tax credit program. Program continued.
- Maintain Current Funding from Cigarette Sales Surcharge
Continuation of cigarette sales tax surcharge dollars to biomedical research. Ensuring that the corporate tax cuts and new revenue streams adopted in 2012 are not reduced or eliminated will help stimulate the growth of new companies and current institutions in our industry. Florida receives approximately $900 million per year from this source alone. Cigarette Sales Surcharge reinstituted and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute received an extension from initial inclusion in these dollars.
- Corporate Income Tax Reduction
Create a state corporate income tax environment that rivals any other state. The Governor has consistently worked to lower Florida’s corporate income tax to entice businesses to move to Florida and retain and grow our current Florida-based businesses. No movement this year on Corporate Income Tax Reduction; however, the Legislature did pass a three year repeal on taxes for manufacturing companies and that bill was signed into law by Governor Scott.
Substitution of Biologic Products – Recent Federal law authorized the U. S. Food and Drug Administration to approve biosimilar product substitution under the Public Health Service Act. The law also established general criteria for interchangeability of biosimilar products for innovator biologic medications. This is a designation, which reflects the FDA’s judgment that a biosimilar product can be safely substituted for the innovator biologic medication and the biosimilar product causes no greater harm than using the innovator biologic medication alone. Florida Statutes will need to be updated to recognize this new pathway and provide the same patient protections currently in place for small molecules. Rep. Matt Hudson has filed HB 365 and Senate Legislation is expected to be filed this year to address issues regarding biologics. HB 365 successfully passed the Florida Legislature, with 4 of the 5 BIO Principles included. This legislation is waiting for approval by Governor Scott.
EXECUTIVE LEVEL/REGULATORY PRIORITIES:
CLIA Certification – BioFlorida members have consistently asked that issues relating to unnecessary and burdensome regulations be addressed in order to create a more efficient and cost-effective environment in Florida. One such issue is a concern over the length of time CLIA Certification takes in Florida as compared to other states. CLIA Certification guidelines are set by the federal government and the program is administered by the states. Although the program is created by the federal government, states differ in when they allow companies to begin applications for CLIA Certification, begin inspections, and some states are known to give “pre-clearances” and a formal clearance prior to allowing the laboratory to operate. Florida requires a Certificate of Occupancy in order to apply for CLIA Certification and then Florida has 30 days to respond to each step of the application. The late start date for CLIA Certification and concerns over delays in responses from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) deter companies from expanding in Florida and creating new jobs. Positive dialogue between AHCA and BioFlorida resulted in very optimistic outcomes for new CLIA applications submitted to AHCA.
Fund the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (Institute) – The Institute helps investors and entrepreneurs identify new investment opportunities based on technologies developed through publicly-funded research. The Institute oversees two programs that offer funding opportunities to qualified companies. BioFlorida has consistently advocated for the continuation and expansion of the Institute’s funding programs. Governor Scott signed the 2013-2014 budget into law on May 20, 2013 and included $5.5 million for the Institute.
- Seed Fund
Seed-stage and early-stage companies rely on investment dollars. Without support, these companies cannot complete the tasks required to bring a product or technology to market and often fail. Currently through its Seed Capital Accelerator Program, the Institute offers loans to qualified seed-stage and early-stage companies on a matching basis to help them launch their products. In 2012, the Legislature appropriated $10 million for these funds, and all available funds will be committed by June 2013. The Institute is seeking additional seed funds for qualified companies.
- Florida Research Commercialization Matching Grant Program
The federal government allocates billions of dollars annually to two highly competitive programs that encourage start-up businesses to capitalize on commercialization opportunities: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Through a 2010 appropriation, the Institute provided matching grant funds to qualified companies who applied for, or received Phase I and Phase II SBIR and STTR federal grants. All funds have been granted and the Institute continues to monitor grantee progress.
Fund Basic Research Programs – BioFlorida encourages the preservation and funding of Florida’s Centers of Excellence at our state research universities; James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and Bill Bankhead and David Coley Biomedical Research Program. In 2012, the Legislature appropriated $34,650,000 for biomedical research related trust funds and institutes; this was an increase of more than $5 million of directed dollars to biomedical research. BioFlorida asks that 10% of the Cigarette Sales Surcharge go to Biomedical research. Governor Scott signed the 2013-2014 budget into law on May 20, 2013 and included $49.75 million to biomedical research, an increase of more than $15 million from the 2012-2013 budget.
Fund the Innovation Incentive Fund – BioFlorida supports the continuation and expansion of funding for the Florida Innovation Incentive Fund, which provides opportunities for the state to grow its biotechnology industry by investing in large-scale biotechnology and life sciences projects. Scripps, Torrey Pines, Max Planck, Sanford-Burnham are all recipients of state funding similar to or from Innovation Incentive funding. In 2012, the Legislature appropriated a total of $61 million for a larger fund, including the Innovation Incentive Fund with a focus of allowing the Governor to have more discretion with the funds. BioFlorida asks that the Innovation Incentive Fund return to a stand-alone fund as the legislature originally intended and be funded directly and not funded as it was in the FY 2012-2013 Florida Budget. Governor Scott signed the 2013-2014 budget into law on May 20, 2013 and included $71 million for economic development with the Innovation Incentive Fund included.