For Immediate Release
Office of the Premier
June 20, 2005

PHILADELPHIA – The Government of British Columbia is developing important tax changes to make the province an even more attractive centre for biotechnology innovation, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

Significant new tax incentives will encourage companies that invest in the development of intellectual property in the form of patents to remain and expand their capital investment in B.C. as they move their ideas to market.

"We want British Columbia to not only be a base for technology research and development – we also want B.C. to be a base for financing and commercializing ideas, inventions and innovations," said Campbell . "We will introduce legislation this fall to create significant tax incentives to keep and expand those activities in British Columbia and attract new investment."

The proposed changes will reduce the motivation for companies that are on the verge of commercializing a patent to move their intellectual property to an offshore low-tax or no-tax jurisdiction. This is of particular concern to the biotechnology sector, where it can take upwards of 12 years and an investment of $750 million to research, develop, test and receive regulatory approval before biotechnology-related patented products can be commercially sold.

To encourage firms to keep their innovations in British Columbia , and attract new firms and investment, the government will expand the International Financial Activity Program that provides refunds of provincial corporate income taxes paid on certain international financial activities.

"British Columbia is already a hot spot for biotech R&D and so it makes sense to create a better environment for companies to commercialize their R&D investments right here in B.C. as well," said Campbell . "With these changes, I expect even more new enterprises to choose British Columbia as their base for their research and development and their commercial activities. That means more investment and more jobs for B.C.'s economy."

The government will consult with industry representatives and intellectual property experts to finalize the details prior to introducing the legislation. Subject to legislative approval, the new incentives will take effect on Jan.1, 2006.

British Columbia 's biotech community of more than 90 private sector firms is the seventh largest in North America and the fastest growing in Canada . The province has a highly skilled workforce, low operating costs for high technology businesses, and business tax rates that are among the most competitive in North America . Campbell was speaking at the BIO 2005 Convention in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , where he is promoting more investment and jobs for B.C.