GNO, Inc. Heralds Passage of MediFund Legislation

NEW ORLEANS, La. (06/07/2013) — Today, GNO, Inc. heralded passage of its signature legislation for the 2013 State Legislative Session, HB 549, which establishes a statewide MediFund to spur biomedical economic development.  The MediFund will help create biomedical centers of excellence to drive destination healthcare and research commercialization.

“The biomedical sector represents one of the greatest job creation opportunities in Louisiana, if properly focused,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc.  “A special thanks goes out to House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger, our lead sponsor, and to Senator J.P. Morrell, who carried the legislation in the Senate.  The passage of the MediFund is due to a diverse coalition of support from across the state.”

“Louisiana has a unique opportunity to establish itself as a leader in bio-sciences, and the creation of the MediFund will allow us to capitalize on this opportunity,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger.  “I was proud to work with GNO, Inc. and our entire bio-science community on the passage of this legislation.”

“Our economy is increasingly driven by innovation,” said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The MediFund legislation lays the groundwork for new biomedical research grants for Louisiana, which will only further help to diversify our economy into this high growth sector. This was an exciting partnership for the super-region, and we congratulate and thank Rep. Leger and GNO, Inc. for their leadership.”

“North Louisiana Economic Partnership thanks our state legislators for supporting this important initiative which will advance the bioscience and health care sectors,” said Scott Martinez, NLEP President. “These industries are key drivers in the economies of North Louisiana and the state. The creation of the MediFund will enhance our important bioscience and medical assets.”

The MediFund received unanimous support in both the House and Senate and secured over forty co-authors.  It was supported by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, North Louisiana Economic Partnership, Downtown Development District, PHARMA, Pfizer, Tulane University, Ochsner Health Systems, Louisiana State Medical Society, Bossier Chamber of Commerce, BioDistrict New Orleans, New Orleans BionInnovation Center, and the City of New Orleans.

This legislation was advanced in collaboration with the Board of Regents, Louisiana State University System, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and other bio-science stakeholders. HB 549 sets up the structure, powers, grant process, and funding authorization of the MediFund. The legislation sunsets in five years.