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Friday, July 31, 2009

It just ain't happenin'

Oregon's biotech cred continues to slide with the departure of a goodly chunk of AVI BioPharma from Corvallis to the Seattle area. The Beaver State's chase of this industry has always seemed quixotic, and it's becoming an exercise in futility.

Comments (8)

AVI's news release could translate into "our exec's get to keep more of their paycheck when we move"

Remember Vestas, the wind turbine company, well they are opening an assembly plant in Colorado. Katz and crew put a lot of words into luring them here, but nothing happened. Wonder what the problem was, or maybe is?

It's not just this industry, it's all industry, and most of the people on the blog support the policies that create the incentives for businesses to move elsewhere.


PLEASE NOTE: This position is located in Port St. Lucie, Florida

unfortunately, local government switches Dulcineas all the time--and like the novel, Dulcinea never actually appears.

Weird comment from article:

AVI BioPharma has racked up losses of about $251 million since its inception in 1980, and the business remains unprofitable.

I'd ask exactly what kind of incentives were used to attract those biotech industries. I'm reminded of when former Interior Secretary James Watt gave away such great deals on mining off the Oregon coast (out on the Juan de Fuca Ridge) that even mining companies willing to consider silver and gold deposits under a mile of seawater were backing away slowly and looking for a weapon. Offer too much of a tax break, the way I suspect Vera and crew did, and the only companies willing to relocate are ones that make more money off the tax breaks than they'd ever make from revenue.

After a while, though, even the tax breaks aren't enough to make it worthwhile, especially when potential employees would rather set themselves on fire than move out there. A beautiful example is with Mississippi's efforts to expand its industrial base: cheap land and a friendly business climate means nothing when the popular perception of Mississippi is so poor, and let's say nothing of the real possibility of going to jail for watching movies or buying beverages that are perfectly legal in civilized areas.

This is AVI posturing to get a handout for its Corvallis labs.

Their HQ office space was in downtown Portland for years. They fired their secretary in that office a year ago, and you'd see their executives working the front desk phone in weekly rotation, right about the time their stock was tanking, so you know things weren't going well. Then they moved out of their downtown Portland HQ office about 6 months ago to their Corvallis lab. Note how 50% of corporate managers don't move with their companies when they move to Corvallis?

Now, the big news is they're moving their HQ to Seattle? Well, they already moved it from Portland. I'm sure their Corvallis lab wasn't an ideal office location. So what's the big deal now?

There was no good reason to issue a press release when they left Portland, because by that time, they had to move. Portland didn't do anything wrong to make them leave, other than the fact that Portland will never ever be a biotech center, and Portland couldn't do anything to make them stay. If city flew in like an angel and paid their lease, they would have had to disclose that on their SEC filings, which would have been the sword through their genetically-engineered corporate heart.

But now, they have something to gain with a press release. Now, they've invoked the spectre of "83 employees" leaving their Corvallis lab, just like their (50% new) management team. They're looking for a handout, which means... that anyone who wants to make a few bucks should short AVII!

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