April 29, 2019

Baker-Polito Administration announces $30 million in capital grant funding to support life sciences sector

11 projects to receive funding to sustain the Commonwealth’s competitive edge in advancing human health and connecting communities across Massachusetts to the innovation economy

Waltham – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced $30.95 million in capital grant funding to support the state’s global leadership in the life sciences sector. In total, 11 projects across Massachusetts will receive funding through the MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program to support advances in human health, accelerate innovation in the areas of clinical and translational research, and expand the capacity of life sciences development and job growth across the Commonwealth.

“Our administration is dedicated to generating economic growth and supplying researchers with the tools they need to create new advancements in improving patient outcomes,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By investing in the Massachusetts innovation economy, we can work together with academic and industry partners to support game-changing technological research and create jobs across the state.”

“This capital funding further enhances our world-class talent pipeline, spurring additional educational and career opportunities throughout every region of the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is pleased to make investments in educational and training programming to ensure that any resident pursuing a career in the life sciences can thrive, positioning Massachusetts to continue to lead the way in this field.”

The MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program invests capital dollars through a competitive process in high potential economic development projects that promise to make a significant contribution to the state’s life sciences ecosystem. Moreover, the competitive program aims to address funding gaps in capital dollars, industry support, and federal funding for educational institutions, incubators, research institutions, and workforce training programs, while also catalyzing private and philanthropic investment to match state investment and preparing the life sciences workforce of the future.

“These investments represent new opportunities for our life sciences ecosystem to support job growth, talent development, and entrepreneurial growth across the Commonwealth,” said MLSC President and CEO Travis McCready. “By continuing to expand regional access in education and hands-on training and supporting innovative, novel technologies, we are unlocking new potential in our understanding of human physiology to push toward medical advances for patients around the world.”

Leaders representing the awardee institutions shared how this investment will positively impact their work:

“We are grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for their generous support.  The Center for Translation Neurotrauma Imaging (CTNI) will spur high-tech job and industry growth, train the next generation research leaders and further consolidate the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a global leader in life science innovation,” said Karen Antman, MD, provost, Boston University Medical Campus and dean, School of Medicine.

“Mass Life Sciences Center’s support is helping the Massachusetts General Hospital explore new ways to transform clinical research in the neurosciences by providing the infrastructure to construct a new unit that will allow us to learn more from clinical research in neurological and psychiatric diseases  including Alzheimer’s disease,” says Bradley Hyman, MD, PhD, director of the Mass. Alzheimer Disease Research Center at MGH. “We plan a state of the art unit that combines recent advances in clinical trial technologies, advances in neuroimaging with MGH’s Martinos Center, and biomarker discovery all in a facility that will allow early phase clinical trials to proceed efficiently, gathering all the data together to facilitate learnings.  We are really grateful for the opportunity to grow this program, with the hope that we will translate these opportunities into future therapies for dementia and other diseases.”

“We are honored to receive this award, which will allow BATL to expand into training on biomanufacturing” said Dr. Jared Auclair, the director of Northeastern’s BATL and principle investigator and the lead researcher for the grant proposal. “This will allow BATL to provide end-to-end training on biologics and grow the field in Massachusetts.”

“GMGI/GBA is thrilled to be able to add a state-of-the-art cell culture room to our facility,” said GMGI Board Chair Michele May. “It will enable us to expand our program offerings and comprehensively train our students to meet the needs of the area’s life sciences companies.”

“This support will expand Baystate Health’s capacity to perform efficient and compliant clinical trials, speed medical advances, and make novel treatments available to our diverse patient populations,” said Dr. Peter Friedmann, Chief Research Officer for Baystate Health and Associate Dean for Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate. “We are grateful to MLSC, our legislators, the Governor and the citizens of the Commonwealth for this investment in the future of biomedical research in Western Massachusetts.”

“There is a real need in the industry for both qualified professionals graduating from programs like Quincy College’s Biotechnology and GMP program, and for customized incumbent worker training that we offer in our state-of-the-art biotechnology labs at Quincy College. This specialized and customized training pipeline supports the Commonwealth’s biopharma industry form the ground up. Quincy College is uniquely positioned to support skill development for all levels of professionals working in the Biotech industry.  Quincy College excels at addressing this real-world need head-on, providing a resource for continuing education as incumbent worker training and critical skill development for those just entering the biotechnology industry. With the generous Massachusetts Life Science Consortium Grant,  the Quincy College Biotechnology and Compliance program will be able to further the study of biotechnology and good manufacturing practice and implement ongoing positives changes initiated by the Quincy College leadership to make the College not only a wonderful work place but also a modern institution that provides the best possible education for students and workforce training for workers throughout the Commonwealth,” said Quincy College President Michael G. Bellotti.

“The research planned going forward with the establishment of this new resource at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will further expand the potential for benefiting our patients with precision therapy. The siting of the new resource, between the Harvard Medical School quadrangle and the Brigham, at the heart of the Longwood Medical Area, will surely inspire new programs to leverage unique intellectual and physical resources from different institutions to bring together programs that promise to become much more than the sum of each of their investments and contributions.” Paul J. Anderson, MD, PhD, Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice-President of Research at the Brigham.

“We are so proud of the success of our MBI companies,” said Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) President & CEO Jon Weaver. “It’s truly amazing to witness the caliber of life and health science companies that are choosing to make their start in Central Massachusetts.  Our partnership with the Massachusetts Life Science Center will provide additional opportunities for these startups to seed, scale, and succeed in Central Massachusetts, and accommodate the high demand for laboratory space.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to create a Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training at MassBay,” said MassBay President Dr. David Podell. “And we are extremely grateful to Mass Life Sciences for their support for this important initiative which will allow us to better prepare underrepresented students for careers in the life sciences.”

“We appreciate MLSC’s continued support and commitment in supporting NSIV to deliver on its mission to support and nurture early-stage life science companies in Boston North,” said North Shore InnoVentures CEO Chris Ilsley. “The commitment will allow us to not only support more companies currently here in Massachusetts, and continue to make us relevant in Boston North’s Life Science community; and will also attract and support international life science companies looking to make Massachusetts their home for the North American market.”

This is the sixth round of the competitive capital program administered by the MLSC. Applicants are academic organizations, research institutions, research hospitals, business incubators and other non-profit organizations. The MLSC recognizes that investment in capital projects and infrastructure is necessary to create and sustain the attributes that make Massachusetts attractive to innovation sectors such as life sciences. To date, the MLSC has awarded or committed more than $455 million to support capital projects across the state.

The MLSC’s infrastructure investments have contributed to the creation of more than 1.9 million square feet of new life sciences research and manufacturing space across the Commonwealth, while creating more than 5,800 jobs in the building trades and in the life sciences sector. The more than $30 million in capital funds in this most recent round of the competitive program will be distributed across 11 different projects, including six research institutions, three projects centered on workforce development efforts, and two incubators in Worcester and Beverly. Many of the projects are multi-partnered and leverage an additional $29.85 million in investments by partner institutions or the awardees themselves.

This past June, Governor 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. This legislation will serve to reinforce the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences sector.

MLSC Competitive Capital Program award descriptions:

Baystate Medical Center – $3,949,912

The capital project will expand capacity to perform clinical trials in Western Massachusetts by building a clinical trials unit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and a satellite unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, and enhancing training in clinical research in collaboration with local community colleges. This project will accelerate human testing of innovative digital health, biopharma, and medical devices developed in the Commonwealth. Moreover, for Baystate and its partners in Western Massachusetts, the project will increase access to innovative treatments for the patients and communities within the region, expand collaborations with academic and industry partners, and develop a workforce skilled in clinical research.

Boston Children’s Hospital – $1,545,050

The MLSC’s funding will support the launch of a multi-disciplinary initiative at Boston Children’s Hospital focused on advances in precision medicine in the treatment of cardiac disease. The Center for Accelerated Therapeutic Development (CAT-D) will bring an interdisciplinary team of cardiac biologists, bioengineers, and clinicians together under one roof to develop innovative human cell and tissue models of human disease. CAT-D will accelerate therapeutic development through the use of disease-relevant, human in vitro models, enabling “clinical trials in a dish” to identify patient groups most likely to respond to specific therapies or most at risk for adverse responses. The initiative will also serve as a collaborative hub for scientists in academia and biotechnology, seeding academic-industry partnerships and accelerating translation of basic discoveries. An initial focus of CAT-D will be inherited heart disease, but the same infrastructure and principles are equally applicable to other rare and inherited diseases.

Boston University Medical School – $4,991,000

The Center for Translation Neurotrauma Imaging at Boston University Medical School will establish a start‐of‐the‐art research facility to accelerate development of transformative brain imaging techniques, applications, protocols, and markers to detect and track subtle changes in the brain that result from neurotrauma and increase risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimer’s disease. This type of imaging technology will fill an existing gap in detecting and tracking before emerging treatments can be successfully tested and deployed in humans.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital – $5,000,000

Brigham and Women’s Hospital will use MSLC funding to advance the rigor and efficiency of clinical trials and biomedical research with targeted therapeutics by providing information otherwise not available to drug companies, as well as enhancing basic research at Massachusetts academic institutions. The MLSC-funded instrument package will provide a unique resource in the United States by combining quantitative metabolomics and high-resolution spatial mass spectrometry imaging, including a high-resolution 15 Tesla mass spectrometer. This novel, state-of- the-art facility, which will be made available to the scientific community and biotechnology companies, will aim to transcend cancer research and accelerate the development of new medicines for infectious disease, cardiac medicine, and neurological disease states, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute – $174,383

The Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) will receive $174,383 to build out and equip a new, state-of-the-art cell culture laboratory. The lab will enhance student experience and training at GMGI’s Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, while also addressing an industry need for entry-level technicians with cell culturing experience and advance its genomics research goals. This funding builds upon previous MLSC support for the construction of the world-class genomics research institute on Cape Ann, made possible by a previous $2.7 million MLSC capital grant.

Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives – $3,494,256

Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), one of the first life sciences incubators in the Commonwealth, is currently home to more than 30 life sciences companies, having “graduated” another 95 companies, which employ approximately 825 people in the local life sciences cluster in central Massachusetts. With the support of the MLSC, MBI will redevelop 17 Briden Street within Worcester’s Gateway Park by establishing additional incubator space, which will include a “Stage II” incubator.  MBI will operate more than 20,000 square feet of a renovated facility to expand its business incubation operations, including 19 additional suites and supporting office space. Additionally, the inclusion of a “Stage II” incubator will provide MBI the ability to create 5-7 suites of around 1,000- 3,000 square feet for growing companies. This space will serve as a bridge for those companies to grow and sustain their business models and prevent the financial and logistical stress that can cause companies to struggle and fail, by leaving the incubator environment before they are ready.

Massachusetts General Hospital – $4,805,000

MLSC investment will support the launch of a “Big Data & Digital Health Hub”, administered by the Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU) at Massachusetts General Hospital. The CTRU is focused on dramatically transforming clinical research to accelerate progress in the prevention, management and cure of complex brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mood and anxiety disorders. The MLSC’s funding will support the purchase of a high-end computing system for analysis of diverse datasets and a data visualization room with a hyperwall (video wall that uses coordinated visualizations for interactive exploration of multidimensional data and data simulation) and virtual reality capability. Additionally, funding will support advanced multi-sensor clinical exam rooms, wearable and remote digital devices for patient monitoring, and dedicated mass spectrometry for large-scale measurements. This initiative will enable unprecedented analysis of individualized precision medicine data on brain health with an ultimate goal of developing new therapies.

MassBay Community College – $500,000

MLSC funding will be used to create a Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training at MassBay Community College that aims to transform community college technical education by preparing underrepresented students for employment and research positions in the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem. The college will upgrade its biotechnology facilities, allowing for the development of an array of new, credit and non‐credit, courses in areas such as genomics, developmental biology, and biomanufacturing. In addition, MassBay Community College will provide laboratory space through summer programming for high school students, as well as, to small businesses for employee training.

North Shore InnoVentures – $1,650,000

Since 2012, North Shore InnoVentures (NSIV) and Endicott College have forged a successful partnership to deliver on the mission to foster and support regional life science startups. Today this collaboration continues as NSIV will now manage the expanding Endicott College incubator space to better support the increasing number and range of life sciences startups active in the North Shore region of the state. MLSC funding will expand infrastructure capacity at NSIV and obtain key instrumentation for both the NSIV and Endicott facilities that will serve as a catalyst for startups’ product development and facilitate training of a highly skilled workforce for the life sciences industry. The advanced instrumentation at NSIV and Endicott College will be used by startups, student interns from the region’s high schools, community college, and four-year colleges, in addition to, companies across Massachusetts more broadly. The economic impact of this project will include: helping to create and fill high-quality life-sciences jobs in Massachusetts; better preparing the workforce for those jobs; and affording early-stage life sciences companies in the region access to tools and services to enhance their potential for growth and success.

Northeastern University – $4,271,867

Northeastern University will utilize MLSC funding to establish a training program in biomanufacturing analysis and quality control, by providing hands-on training in state-of-the-art facilities at its Burlington campus. The university plans to build out two additional laboratories: a mock GMP suite and a biomanufacturing suite, in addition to, purchasing training equipment, including a manufacturing scale bioreactor and purification system for the biomanufacturing suite, and instrumentation upgrades to the campus’ mass spectrometry laboratory.

Quincy College – $725,000

MLSC funding will enable Quincy College to continue its leadership in providing comprehensive workforce training and education in manufacturing. The college’s bio manufacturing certificate and associate degree programs have been at capacity enrollment consistently for the past seven years. Quincy College will utilize funding to upgrade existing equipment and enhance the student experience. This new funding will build upon $645,000 in previous MLSC funding to support Quincy College’s biotechnology and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) programming.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world.  Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health.  Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed over $700 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs.  These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.