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Biotechnology will continue to boom in Mass. - Metro US

Biotechnology will continue to boom in Mass.

Biotechnology firms are popping up across the metro Boston landscape, paving the way for the year’s hottest local industry, one with a seemingly endless supply of work.

“The number of applications that biotechnology and biological engineering can be applied to are almost limitless,” said Barry Canton, one of five MIT Ph.D.s to found Ginkgo BioWorks, housed in Marine Industrial Park. “Right now, it’s a very open playing field.”

The biotech industry grew 42.6 percent between 2001 and 2008, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Experts predict that the number of employees in the industry will balloon to over 200,000 by 2012, roughly double the number just two years ago.

Ginkgo and Eutropics Pharmaceuticals both moved to Boston last year with assistance from the city’s LifeTech initiative. Dozens already inhabit Cambridge. Others have made massive leaps from overseas to be close to what the Milken Institute called the top life sciences cluster in the country, several moving in the wake of Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2008 Life Science Initiative.

Biocell Center originated in Italy but took its amniotic stem cell preservation method to Medford in October. CEO Kate Torchilin expects the work force to triple in size in the next year.

“Massachusetts was definitely the choice,” Torchilin said of the company’s decision to break into the U.S. market here.

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