(Portland) The Bioscience Association of Maine (BioME) is unveiling a collaborative effort to attract life science companies with a new Why Maine? campaign. The outreach highlights both business and lifestyle advantages of the state with the slogan, “Maine, The Way Life Should Be.”
A skilled workforce, less traffic, innovative companies, available building sites, and a close-knit, supportive business network complement more affordable housing, excellent schools, beautiful beaches and mountains, and abundant, four season recreation.
“I moved my start-up here from Massachusetts to be close to manufacturing and there was an available workforce here,” says Prapela CEO John Konsin (https://www.prapela.com/). “Portland reminds me of Seattle in the 90’s. Maine is going to be a thriving part of our life science ecosystem.” Konsin is featured in a video teasing Maine’s advantages: https://biomaine.org/why-maine/.
Just an hour north of Boston on I-95, one crosses the Piscataqua River Bridge into Maine, home to more than 400 life science companies. “We have multiple billion-dollar companies that are based in Portland, but people don’t hear that story,” says Brian Harris, CEO and founder of MedRhythms.
David Roux, co-founder of Silver Lake and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, recently provided the seed money to found The Roux Institute with Northeastern University in downtown Portland, offering graduate education and research in advanced life sciences and medicine, as well as AI, computer and data sciences, and digital engineering.
“Boston is a global hub for the life science industry, and Portland is less than two hours away by car,” explains Agnieszka Carpenter, Executive Director of BioME. “The pandemic has shifted priorities for many companies and employees. Maine offers less populated areas with affordable land and work-life balance, giving people the ability to do industry-leading work, but also maintain a lower cost of living, high salaries, and access to Maine’s natural resources, cultural and recreational offerings.”
COVID-19 has given national exposure to Maine biotech organizations rapidly responding to the pandemic with a wide spectrum of solutions.
Abbott Laboratories is expanding its manufacturing, hiring an additional 1,200 people to meet the demand for its COVID-19 testing products. The Jackson Laboratory provides the global research community with new, humanized mouse models that accurately recreate the full spectrum of human COVID-19 disease, comprising invaluable, precise new tools for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and therapeutic development. Puritan Medical Products produces close to one million swabs per week to support COVID-19 testing – one of only two specialty swab production facilities globally. IDEXX Laboratories, a member of the S&P 500® Index and a global leader in veterinary diagnostics, software, and water microbiology testing, rapidly pivoted their expertise after developing a COVID-19 test for animals, to producing a test for human application through their subsidiary, OPTI Medical Systems, Inc.
The Why Maine? campaign is a collaboration with FocusMaine, an organization working to accelerate the creation of quality jobs within high-growth sectors where Maine has a competitive advantage.
“This campaign highlights many of Maine’s assets contributing to existing strength in the life sciences and supporting the state’s economic strategy,” said Kimberly Hamilton, president of FocusMaine. “We identified the biotech sector as an engine of quality job growth well before the pandemic, and we’re more confident than ever that Maine is the right home for companies looking for unique competitive advantages.”
FocusMaine was recently awarded a $5.2 million grant through Maine’s largest philanthropic organization, the Harold Alfond Foundation. This grant was a part of the largest investment the organization has ever made — a $500 million grant given to eight Maine organizations, universities, and colleges to support the goals of Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy by promoting innovation, enhancing workforce skills and strengthening the state’s infrastructure.
BioME is a trade association devoted to promoting growth and development of Maine’s life science industry and serving its members and bioscience community by providing a network for public policy, industry advocacy and economic development. From promising start-ups to established corporations, BioME provides opportunities for innovation, collaboration and promotion of the life science, biotechnology and device manufacturing sectors in Maine.