The rise of Massachusetts as a national and global leader in life sciences development has continued to advance through the early decades of the 21st century. The Commonwealth is a top state in life sciences industry concentration and total life sciences employment.

The Commonwealth’s top-line growth in jobs, in addition to wages, is the result of gains across all stages of innovation-led development, including robust research, technology commercialization, new firm formation, and the successful scale-up of companies. This reflects the strong foundations of Massachusetts’ overall innovation ecosystem for life sciences development and its long-term ability to drive economic success.

The Commonwealth stands out in comparison to other top life sciences states in the level of life sciences industry R&D, patent activity, and venture capital investments. Massachusetts’ leadership post in life sciences industry development reflects the confluence of market forces being supported by forward-looking public policy. In 2008, Massachusetts made a $1 billion, 10-year commitment to solidify the state’s prominence in life sciences industries. This ambitious effort, known as the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, created a body, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, charged with carrying out the initiative.

In 2018, the Massachusetts legislature passed and Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act Providing Continued Investment in the Life Sciences Industry in the Commonwealth to invest up to $623 million in bond authorization and tax credits over five years in education, research and development, and workforce training. Historically, the MLSC has also received an annual appropriation through the Consolidated Net Surplus to support its Investment Fund, which serves as a critical component of the Center’s funding.

As a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the MLSC has been given a mandate to “expand life sciences-related employment opportunities in the Commonwealth and to promote health-related innovations by supporting and stimulating research and development, manufacturing and commercialization in the life sciences.” The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s investments and its varied programs are supporting both near-term and more tangible development goals such as increasing jobs, investment, and commercialization through direct assistance to life sciences companies, as well as longer-term enhancements to the innovation ecosystem for life sciences, such as investing in innovation infrastructure.

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