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Gov. Baker wants to invest $500M in life sciences

The investment will ensure Massachusetts' role as the "biotech capital of the world," experts say.
gov. charlie baker, charlie baker, massachusetts governor
Gov. Charlie Baker. File Photo

Gov. Charlie Baker is proposing a $500 million investment into the state’s life-sciences sector as part of a five-year initiative that would build on efforts started by his predecessor, Deval Patrick.

“We are committed to supporting the public-private partnerships and strategic investments that have made Massachusetts a global leader in the life sciences, research, development and medical advancements,” Baker said in a statement.

The announcement came from Baker’s office Monday, right before the governor headed to California for the 2017 BIO International Convention, a biotechnology event.

Baker will address the convention to reinforce his administration’s commitment to keeping Massachusetts as a leader in the life-sciences sector. The 2018 BIO International Convention will be hosted in Boston next June.

The proposal includes funding investments in public infrastructure, research and development, workforce training and education, and includes up to $295 million in capital spending and up to $150 million in job-creating tax incentives.

The funding will continue to be managed by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which originally overtook Patrick’s efforts to expand the industry. In 2008, Patrick signed legislation that established a 10-year, $1 billion investment in life sciences.

“The bill that has been filed to reauthorize investments in the life sciences throughout the commonwealth is a clear signal that the administration’s goals are closely aligned with those of the state’s most prominent industry,” said Travis McCready, president & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, in a statement.

“At the Life Sciences Center, we are looking forward to improving upon the first iteration of this initiative and continuing to support Massachusetts’ position as the global leader in life sciences,” he added.

The center is co-chaired by Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. Since its inception, the center has invested or committed more than $650 million across the state, including tax incentives, grants and loans for small-to-medium life-science business and the addition of lab spaces into middle and high schools.

Rafael Reif, president of MIT, called the commonwealth “the biotech capital of the world” in a statement and said this proposal will help the state’s economic growth.

This was echoed by Robert K. Coughlin, president and CEO of MassBio, who also noted that this move will surely benefit others outside of the state, as well.

“For Massachusetts residents, Gov. Baker’s actions mean more high-paying jobs in all corners of the state for years to come,” he said in a statement. “For patients of the world, it means more breakthrough cures and treatments will reach them faster.”

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