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« UN Shelves Cloning Treaties for Now | Main | NHGRI Announces Grant RFAs for Research for Genomic-Based Legal Issues »

November 29, 2004


Jeff Donohue

At my prior job (a corporate group in a national law firm), I ran into the Slater Center for Biotechnology (the RI sponsored incubator) on several occasions. Overall, I was very impressed with the way it was run (the current and former directors are top notch people who go to great lengths to help early stage companies).

A couple of thoughts, though:

(1) Since many of the incubators are creatures of state law, you never known when the legislature is going to change its mind, or when a particular lobby group (anti-embryonic stem cell folks, animal rights folks, etc.) will pop up and lobby to restrict grants.

(2) In addition to space, some of them (like Slater) make investments in the form of convertible debt. It's a good instrument for the job, but usually there is a caveat that the company can't leave the state. For small states like RI, this can be a challenge, as I've seen more than one entrepreneur relocate to be near investment capital. In former versions of some of the investment documents, the company could pay off the loan and "skip town". Current versions of the investment documents, I believe, require corporate residency for a fixed period even if the loan is paid off. (Query whether that is enforceable!)

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