State-backed investments in stem cell research have resulted in the creation of nearly 1,400 new jobs over the past 10 years, according to new data from Maryland Technology Development Corp.
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, administered by TEDCO, supports research grants and loans to public and private entities. The funds are intended to help push innovative stem cell therapies toward commercialization. To date, more than $140 million has been committed to over 400 research projects in the state through the fund.
A TEDCO administered study, conducted by the Sage Policy Group Inc., found that in addition to the jobs created through stem cell project investments, the fund generated more than $57 million in employee compensation and has supported more than $286 million in statewide economic activity over its 10-year lifespan. Essentially, that means $2 in economic value is created for every $1 invested.
The fund was established through legislation in 2006. TEDCO awards millionsto researchers, hospitals and startups each year. In 2017, the organization awarded $9.1 million to support various research initiatives, including finding cures for diseases like heart failure, multiple sclerosis, vascular diseases and cancer through the use of stem cells.
An increasing portion of the funds has gone to private companies in recent years, as opposed to only university or hospital-based researchers. About $2.7 million, or 37.3 percent of the fund, went to private companies a year ago, compared to 13.4 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2007. Companies that received funding this year include LifeSprout, a Baltimore startup that aims to treat skin and soft tissue wounds with an injectable synthetic material that mimics living tissue, and RoosterBio Inc., a company that specializes in manufacturing stem cells for other researchers to use in drug development and clinical trials.
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund is currently accepting applications for multiple grant programs. The deadline for fiscal year 2018 funding applications is Jan. 18.