Debating biotech on NECN

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Some improvements in the House version of the biotech bill resulted from the good work of Pioneer and other groups like the Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

For Pioneer’s testimony click here, for a Pioneer op-ed in the Globe click here.

That said, apart from the research components and some of the infrastructure funding, the bill still stinks, as I think came out in the back and forth on NECN’s NewsNight with Jim Braude.

In retrospect there is a better answer to Jim’s query “If the bill is so bad, why is it getting the support of the Governor, the Senate President and the Speaker?” I should have said something like the following:

  1. It’s borrowed money (a kind of funny money), so it is easy to spend.
  2. There was already $3.4 billion (that’s a B) in VC money invested in Massachusetts in 2007, so the $100 million a year in investment called for in the bill is bound to be associated with some successes. No doubt, all three will take significant credit for job growth in the sector, even though $100 million is about a 3 percent increase in the total pot of VC money.
  3. They don’t have the courage to reduce the cost of business, so this is the only acceptable way they have to try and say that they are pro-business.

With grey hair comes wisdom, but the brain is a tad slower…