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Connecticut Program Hopes to Entice Banks to Invest in Biotech Tools

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 - Hoping to spur greater investment in his state's bioscience industry, the governor of Connecticut has put in place a new loan program designed to make it less risky for banks to help biotech companies invest in new tools and technologies.

 

Governor John Rowland said beginning on Jan. 1 the state will guarantee 30 percent of a bank's investment that goes to helping biotech companies buy "machinery and equipment." The move hopes to convince banks that biotech companies in the state "are an acceptable risk to take," said a spokesman for the governor's office.

 

The spokesman, Chris Cooper, said the loan program is available for all biotechnology companies in the state, regardless of their size or age. (However, a press release issued on Wednesday said the program is aimed at "small bioscience companies.") Cooper said these companies can use the loan to buy "any kinds of machinery and equipment," including a "variety" of genomics tools and technologies.

 

Connecticut's Office of BioScience, created earlier this year, will spearhead the initiative and set aside an initial fund of $1 million, which it hopes will grow to $3.5 million as more banks and companies sign up. The OB will also help banks with their due-diligence by giving them "a better understanding of companies' specific activities," according to Cooper. Kevin Crowley, an official with the OB, said at least one local genomics company has shown interest in the program, though he declined to elaborate.

 

"We want to put in place a business environment that would encourage these startups," said Cooper. "This is really another leg on the table in terms of trying to put support in place for biotech and bioscience companies."

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