Ken Malone and the board members of his startup biotech company gathered in a conference room at the University of Southern Mississippi last October to make a gut-wrenching decision.
Ablitech Inc.'s funding was slowly drying up, and it couldn't find new sources in Mississippi. If the company stayed, it would wither away. The only option left for Ablitech, they decided, was for the fledgling company to move.
"We called our shareholders together and said, 'Look, if we stay here, we're going to die,'" Malone recalled recently.
For months, Malone and one of the firm's co-founders scoured the East Coast, from North Carolina to Boston, for a new home. They chose...