NMBSA's $50M pitch aims to grow economy - Albuquerque Journal

NMBSA’s $50M pitch aims to grow economy

New Mexico has an abundance of world-class scientists and innovators developing cutting-edge solutions to tackle the problems of today and tomorrow.

With its three national labs and three research universities, New Mexico has the intellectual firepower to play an integral role in the world economy. Still, we are ranked 44th in the nation in terms of economic stability, with our main economic drivers being oil and gas, tourism, and federal government spending. The COVID pandemic revealed the need to diversify our economy.

The New Mexico Bioscience Authority was created in 2017 by the Legislature as a state entity and the state’s first public-private partnership between government, research institutions and private industry. The NMBSA was developed after comprehensive studies, including the GrowBio report and the Stanford Research Institute recognized biosciences as one of nine economic development clusters that could accelerate the economy’s diversification.

New Mexico is fortunate to have an authority that oversees the development of the bioscience sector throughout the state. This approach has been successful in states like Maryland and North Carolina that in response experienced dramatic growth of their life science sectors. Because of the NMBSA, New Mexico is on the precipice of that type of growth too, but there is still work do be done.

Since its initiation, the NMBSA has explored tools and resources the bioscience sector needs to fully meet its potential. Our studies show that though New Mexico has created several successful bioscience startup companies; these companies lack the funding to realize their full potential in New Mexico. They raise seed and angel funds and begin their journey to success. Some businesses flourish and grow. Pebble Labs, NTx, BioFlyte and BennuBio recently finished multimillion-dollar Series A funding rounds. Twistle and OpenEye Scientific were just bought for hundreds of millions of dollars and will hopefully continue to grow and thrive in New Mexico. Electronic Caregiver and Curia Global are growing exponentially with both contributing significantly to the economy. These are genuine success stories of NM bioscience businesses growing and thriving, but the NMBSA knows this is not always the case.

Unfortunately, many New Mexico startup bioscience companies lack the capital necessary to grow their companies here. Large out-of-state investors that can fund Series A and further investment rounds encourage companies that were “born” in New Mexico to leave our state to be closer to their investor, taking their intellectual capital and key personnel with them.

During this coming legislative cycle, the NMBSA proposes a $50M co-investment program like ones successfully orchestrated in Arizona and Colorado.

This program will allow the NMBSA to partner with private firms that match the authority’s investment at a 2:1 rate to increase the amount being invested in New Mexico bioscience companies to $150M over the next 10 years. This amount of capital going into a directed industry will be a game changer with the potential to help New Mexico companies thrive and to attract new companies to relocate here. It will create high paying jobs that will each account for four additional jobs in the economy, attract new research funding to the state, and increase capital expenditures to build the bioscience infrastructure. It will be a self-financing, sustainable investment when the NMBSA reinvests the state’s return on investment funds in additional bioscience companies. The NMBSA is implementing a successful pilot of this program with NM Angels to provide a template for this more robust co-investment strategy. New Mexico needs this directed investment.

Please support the strategic efforts of the NM Bioscience Authority to develop a thriving bioscience sector that stretches from Los Alamos to Las Cruces.

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