16 Jun Baldwin backs funding for Midwest biotech incubator
Madison, Wis. – A Madison-based company experienced in producing agricultural projects for NASA could receive $150,000 from Congress to help finance a biotech incubator.
Funding for the Midwest Biolink Incubator was included at the request of U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in an appropriations bill passed Wednesday in the House of Representatives. The funding now must pass through the Senate, and the final version must be signed by President Bush.
The incubator will facilitate development of several high-value products, most of which will be biomedical in nature, but also will include help for analyzing products related to proteins, fuels, polymers, pharmaceuticals, and molecular-based products.
It would contain lab facilities used for experimentation, prototyping, and demonstrations. “The research community amazes me with what they can accomplish,” said Tom Crabb, chief financial officer at Orbital Technologies Corp., the company proposing the research. “The funding will be merely a seed to generate and foster a lot of the technologies that we have in Wisconsin, and focus on effort.”
Crabb said the incubator project will be of a similar magnitude to the payloads Orbitec has produced for the space station. “It’s a different scale, with different market sectors involved,” he said, “but the whole thing focused on commercialization, creating a bridge between research and product development.”
The funds will be directed through the Madison Development Corp., a non-profit corporation that provides loans to hard-to-finance small businesses. MDC provided start-up funding for Orbitec more than 20 years ago.
MDC President Frank Staniszewski said new plant-based products hold the promise of fueling a new economic engine situated in the nation’s agricultural heartland. “Federal funding of the Midwest Biolink Incubator will help advance development new plant-based products and technologies,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Crabb complimented Baldwin on her interest in the high-tech industry. “She understands how niches can turn into sources of economic development for the state,” he said.
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