The Massachusetts biotech world was abuzz on June 14 as Governor Charlie Baker visited Bunker Hill Community College to sign into law a bill that will provide continued investment into the Commonwealth’s life sciences industry. The administration’s commitment to this initiative will help further secure Massachusetts as the world’s premier hub for innovation in medical care advancements.
The bill will ultimately grant $462 million in bonds to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Investment Fund (MLSC) with the purpose of doling out grants to increase diversity and opportunity in Massachusetts’ life sciences and biotech industries.
Here are a few key takeaways from the announcement:
Renewing Deval Patrick’s Plan
The bill renews then-Gov. Deval Patrick’s initiative put into place in 2008. That program cleared the state to invest up to $1 billion over 10 years into the life sciences sector. That bill needed re-authorization this year to continue.
Major Tax Incentives for Boston Businesses
The bill authorizes the state to provide tax credits of up to $150 million over five years, creating greater incentive for industry-leading businesses and promising start-ups to move to or set up shop in Massachusetts, producing economic growth and fueling the already strong job market.
As such, the tax incentive program is designed to provide a cost-effective way of attracting new start-ups and relocating companies to the Commonwealth.
Big Benefits for UMass and other local institutions:
The continued push to fund the UMass Medical School and other sectors demonstrates the robust local commitment to prepare young people to join and contribute to the life sciences workforce.
- $150 Million will be allocated across the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts.
- $50 Million for UMASS Medical School and UMass Lowell. UMassMed says this legislation “will advance neuroscience-related workforce training, translational research, and commercialization of devices and image-based diagnostics across the state.”
- $6 Million for UMass Medical School will support Center for Data Driven Discovery and Healthcare. A center designed to enhance health care though digital technologies and mobile health. Funding from this legislation will also contribute to the creation of the Massachusetts Living Lab.
- $5 Million for MassBiologics of UMass Medical School to support the development of a new biomanufacturing platform for cell and gene therapies.
- $47 million to UMass Amherst to build and equip a Biotechnology and Precision Manufacturing (BPM) research and training facility.
This bill ensures that Massachusetts remains the number one location for life science innovation. The bill highlights a priority of investing in workforce development, biomanufacturing, convergence, and research & development for early stage science. The investment in UMass Medical School has tested to be beneficial, a UMass Donahue Institute report, estimates that each $1 invested by the federal government into the current Sherman Center has a multiplier impact of 2.3X [$2.30]. State officials like Travis McCready, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, are promising a push to spread the funding throughout the state at large.
All funds will be monitored by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.