CORONADO, Calif. -- California Gov. Pete Wilson on Friday announcedplans for a new Biotechnology Task Force to suggest ways for the GoldenState to keep its national lead in biotechnology.

The 20-member task force is just the latest of Wilson's several recentefforts to supply more juice to one of his state's few economic bright lights.

"Your industry is enjoying the good days we'd like to see for the rest of thestate," Wilson told the CalBio Summit '93 conference here. The one-daymeeting, hosted by the San Diego Biocommerce Association, wasdesigned to mobilize efforts to retain and nurture the health-care andbioscience industry in the state.

In California, Wilson continued, biotechnology is "sailing against theeconomic tide of the aerospace industry." Recalling that a study madeduring the double-dip recession of a decade ago had identifiedbiotechnology as one of San Diego's best bets for economic development,Wilson told his audience that he now sees a similar state-wide role for theindustry.

According to Ernst & Young, 50 percent of the nation's biotechnology R&Dand product sales are in California. And the California Healthcare Instituteclaims that the state is home to more than 800 life sciences companies.

Wilson said California has been fending off other states and municipalitiesthat are trying to lure its mother lode of biotechnology companies "over theSierras and across the Pacific."

But California fought back this year; the state Legislature enacted 13 of 15job-creation incentives on Wilson's wish list.

Included on that list was a law to expand and make permanent stateresearch and development investment tax credits. The Legislature alsoagreed to revive a state corporate tax provision allowing tax loss carry-forwards on operating losses.

California also took steps to aid biotechnology manufacturing by recentcost-cutting reforms to the state's worker compensation system. "Thereforms will help companies get off the ground," Wilson said. "I want us tobe more than a laboratory for high-tech products."

-- Ray Potter Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.