There has been an effort to make Missouri an "incubator"' for health-science and biotech companies, but there are some concerns as well.
When Dr. John W. McDonald, the Washington U. neurologist who treated the late actor Christopher Reeve, announced over the summer that he was decamping for Johns Hopkins University, he partly blamed the Missouri political atmosphere.Saint Louis University is in the process of trying to build a new research building both to expand its own research departments as well as to attract new talent from across the country. Washington University is world-renowned in the biotech and health sciences. Governor-elect Matt Blunt has talked about helping make Missouri a leader in this area.
The perception is growing that the state is inhospitable to some medical research, just as the life science industry is starting to gain some momentum.
All of this means Missouri, and other states, need to find a way to counter offers like California's $3 billion dollar pledge to stem cell research. It doesn't have to be stem cells, but options have to be considered. If not, Missouri will find the money, talent and prestige going elsewhere.
One of the first steps to improving Missouri's chances is to immediately shoot down counter-productive ideas such as Davis' "evolution alternative" requirement for biology books sold to Missouri schools. No company will settle in a state that officially refuses to understand the definition of "scientific theory".