The Louisiana Life Sciences Survey was released in January 2016. Based on a statewide survey of life sciences professionals and entrepreneurs, the report provides a thorough overview of the start-up climate for life sciences in Louisiana. Despite facing IP issues such as subject matter patentability under Alice, Mayo and Myriad Genetics, the life sciences entrepreneurial environment continues to see significant growth and success.
For example, the report documents that more than 100 new companies have been created and more than $100 million has been raised by start-ups throughout the state. The future for this sector continues to gain momentum, and it is a focal point for continued growth throughout the state of Louisiana. Both start-ups and established companies are creating jobs in all regions of the state, including ventures originating in Louisiana and those attracted to Louisiana from other regions of the country. Through cutting-edge innovation, Louisiana’s life sciences industry is improving quality of life, as well as diversifying the state’s economy.
While the state itself has made financial investments in the form of tax credits for start-up companies over recent years, more support is needed. State-led incentive programmes have been especially helpful in providing vital seed money to life sciences entrepreneurs throughout the state. However, to commercialise a product, life sciences businesses face unique regulatory and developmental timeline challenges, which can often make it difficult to secure early-stage capital. Unfortunately, funding for these state incentive programmes (eg, R&D tax credits) has been reduced, and an additional injection of state support for similar incentives is not expected at this time. The impact of this change could hamper enthusiasm and slow progress for life sciences start-ups and corporations.
Another challenge faced by the industry in Louisiana is maintaining and growing a talented workforce. Although there has been a slight influx of skilled scientists into the state, Louisiana continues to lose much of its young talent, who often go on to launch or grow their companies or work elsewhere.
Paula Estrada de Martin
This article first appeared in IAM. For further information please visit www.iam-media.com.