As biotech tries to sink roots into Florida, SRI St. Petersburg's ahead of the pack on jobs
Wake up and good morning. SRI International, the California biotech firm that opened a St. Petersburg facility to focus on marine and underwater sensor technology (among other things), had hired 86 employees as of lastyear. That's less than the forecasted 100 but apparently enough for SRI to received $19. 6 million of the $20 million in incentive funds from state and local government funding sources.
That's one of the findings reported in an Orlando Sentinel report that examines whether the biotech binge of incentive spending begun by former Gov. Jeb Bush to lure the likes of Scripps Research, Sanford Burnham Institute, Max Planck Society as well as SRI and others is getting any closer to weaning the young industry off public subsidies. Before Scripps expanded to Florida, courtesy of lavish subsidies, Bush said Florida was a "nothingburger" (in this 2009 story) in biotech.
Compared to some of its biotech peers, SRI (run in St. Petersburg by Larry Langebrake, left) is doing well. (Watch the SRI groundbreaking from 2008 on YouTube.) The Sentinel story says Max Planck, for example, intended to generate 1,800 direct and indirect jobs. But after receiving $188 million in state and local funding, it has nine research positions.
Photo: Bob Croslin, Tampa Bay Times
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times