Members of the New England CRO/CMO Council, a non-profit trade organization made up of contract research organizations (CROs) and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), participated in a roundtable discussion with Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. Organized by MassBio in its Cambridge office, the meeting was an opportunity to discuss expanding the Massachusetts Life Science Initiative and other tax incentive and financing programs.
The meeting was significant because Speaker DeLeo is a key player in drafting and consideration of legislation that will help define the future of the New England Life Sciences Cluster. As the 2005 Massachusetts Life Science Initiative is re-evaluated and renewed, the Council is working to make legislators aware of the importance of the CRO/CMO community.
According to a survey last year, there are more than 225 CROs and CMOs operating in Massachusetts, employing more than 16,000 people and generating nearly $2.5 billion dollars in annual revenues. Key industry trends point to continued push to reduce drug discovery and R&D costs, and outsourcing to CROs and CMOs can be a cost-effective approach.
Bob Coughlin, President of MassBio, requested the NE CRO/CMO Council's attendance and help. He introduced Speaker DeLeo to changes taking place in the way R&D is conducted. "The contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, and the contract research companies, CROs, are becoming the backbone of the cluster as research is increasing going external from the major companies. The companies represented here are examples of where some of the most rapid business expansion in this area is taking place."
According to Ed Price, President of PCI Synthesis and President of the NE CRO/CMO Council, "As R&D spending continues to grow, the CROs and CMOs in and around the Boston mean that the research, development, and manufacturing investment can be spent more effectively. Our customers and partners have learned that it saves money, time, and generates better results when you can work with a key resource provider just down the road. The reason our companies are thriving, and hiring, in this area is that efficiency."
As Jeffrey Kiplinger, Ph.D., President of Averica Discovery Services and a founder of the Council, noted, "There are 225 CROs and CMOs within 100 miles or so of Boston. We employ a lot of the workforce and pay a lot of the taxes, and we'd like to see the 2005 statute's goals and incentive programs adjust to the newer reality of the way R&D is going to get done. It's critical for the future of the cluster that it feeds its own growth."
Price added, "Canada has a system in which R&D spend in Canada — as opposed to outside the country — offers a small tax credit. Even a small incentive like this makes a big point. Why not try something similar here?"