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Friday, May 21, 2010

Biotech tax credit appears perfectly designed for cell therapy companies to recoup research dollars spent in 2009-10

Stewart Lyman of Lyman BioPharma Consulting posted a great article in today's Xconomy summarizing some key points and links to more information about the rules governing the Therapeutic Discovery Project Credit which have now been released by the US Treasury Department. Today, a detailed fact sheet was released about the tax credit program and it seems almost perfectly designed for most cell therapy companies.

Lyman points out a few important details about the application schedule including:
1. The Formal IRS applications (Form 8942) will not be available until June 21st or thereabouts.

2. The application period opens on June 21 and ends on July 21. The postmark on the application is deemed to be the date of delivery. Preliminary review of the applications is to be completed by Sept. 30; this is to ensure that applicants are eligible taxpayers and that their applications are complete. Applicants will receive determinations as to whether or not they qualify for credits and/or grants, and how much they will receive, by Oct. 29.
By way of a little more background, the following is excerpted from a March article by Dean Zerbe:
What does the credit cover?

The credit/grant covers research in tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. The taxpayer is provided a 50% credit/grant for qualified investments in "qualifying therapeutic discovery projects." What expenses count as qualified investments? The aggregate amount of costs paid or incurred in the taxable year for expenses necessary for and directly related to the conduct of a qualifying discovery project. What doesn't count? The pay of employees covered by 162(m)(3) of the tax code--think CEOs--doesn't count. Other excluded items: interest expenses; facility maintenance expenses (e.g. mortgage or rent payments, insurance, utility and maintenance and costs of employment of maintenance personnel); and certain indirect costs (basically general and administrative costs) as defined in the Treasury Regulations at 1.263A-1(e)(4).

What is a qualifying therapeutic discovery project?

According to the legislation, it's a project designed to do one of three things:

--Treat or prevent diseases or conditions by conducting pre-clinical activities, clinical trials and clinical studies, or carrying out research protocols for the purpose of securing federal government approval by the FDA.

--Diagnose diseases or conditions or to determine molecular factors related to diseases or conditions by developing molecular diagnostics to guide therapeutic decisions.

--Develop a product, process or technology to further the delivery or administration of therapeutics.

Finally, to qualify, a venture may not have more than 250 employees in all businesses of the taxpayer--meaning a small biotech project at a big company wouldn't qualify.

Which biotech companies might benefit?

Those that are investing significant resources in pre-clinical or clinical studies, which may take years to come to fruition to ultimately satisfy FDA requirements, could now recoup a significant portion of their expenses. Additionally, biotech start-ups focusing on the development of diagnostic assays or applications to advance therapeutics and treatments can also benefit. Finally, companies currently engaged in basic or applied research which may ultimately contribute to curing caner within the next 30 years may also be excellent candidates. Along these lines, companies studying signal transduction pathways, gene therapy and stem cell research seem like prime candidates.
The Cell Therapy Group will be collecting more information about the tax credit and service providers who might be recommended to assist in the application if needed. Contact CTG for more details or watch here for more information.

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