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Governor Gregoire Discusses Her Strategic Plan for the Life Sciences in Washington

For Immediate Release: January 18, 2007

Life Sciences Discovery Fund announces over $3 million in private investments

OLYMPIA –Governor Chris Gregoire today unveiled her strategic plan for the global health and life sciences industry in Washington. The “Future of Life Sciences in Washington” is Governor Gregoire’s road map to move Washington forward and maintain the state’s position as a world leader in the industry.

“The Next Washington is a strategy that challenges Washingtonians to invest in changes we can count on,” said Governor Gregoire. “Part of this vision is to support Washington companies that are uniquely positioned to be world leaders. The insights and innovations from global health activities in our state hold the promise of cures for the most dreaded diseases, economic growth and improved quality of life everywhere in the world – including here at home.”

Governor Gregoire, joined by Dr. Lee Huntsman, also announced over $3 million in investments in the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF), which was created by Governor Gregoire in the 2005 Legislature. Support for the Fund came from Amgen, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Regence BlueShield.

Lee Huntsman, LSDF executive director, said the donations accelerate the impact of the commitment made in 2005 by Governor Gregoire and the Legislature to devote $350 million in tobacco settlement money over the next decade to the LSDF.

“We are launching a unique strategy to support life sciences research in Washington. The result will be competitive success, recruitment of top researchers and substantial leverage of the LSDF funds,” said Dr. Huntsman.

Governor Gregoire’s life sciences and global health initiatives include five areas for work:

  1. Increased support for research;
  2. Working in public-private partnerships to turn research into products;
  3. Public and private investment in life sciences enterprises;
  4. Incentives to encourage businesses to operate in Washington; and
  5. Broader public understanding of the opportunities and economic value presented by the life sciences.

“These steps are exactly what my Next Washington vision is all about: the state should support new and growing sectors of our economy – such as the life sciences – and we can lay the foundation that will help the private sector to succeed. My life sciences initiatives build on our success and takes advantage of the opportunities we have before us,” said Governor Gregoire.

Governor Gregoire’s global health and life science initiatives are a part of her Next Washington plan, a ten-year “business plan” for the state that acknowledges the unique regional economic needs of the state. It lays out specific initiatives to improve workers’ skills, connects research universities more directly with private sector and economic-development enterprises, boosts telecommunications and energy infrastructure and makes it easier to do business with government.

The Next Washington is based on three components:

  1. Skills for the Changing Economy
    Educating more people to higher levels
  2. The Foundation for Success: Traditional Infrastructure and Beyond
    Increasing movement of research to products to markets and supporting areas not growing as quickly
  3. Open for Business
    Make Washington an even better place to do business by reducing barriers and improving efficiency

“The Next Washington is my vision for our state – to build on our success and to recognize the opportunity we have before us,” said Governor Gregoire. “It will take leadership and determination and I believe that our citizens deserve nothing less.”