June 6, 2018

Massachusetts continues rise as international leader in life sciences development according to new study

 Massachusetts’ growth supported by forward-looking public policy, strong foundations and investments, but facing real competition from other leading and emerging states

 Waltham, MA June 8, 2018 – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s unique contributions of investment, strategy, approach, and output have been cited as key reasons for the Commonwealth’s continued rise as a national leader in life sciences development in a new study, Public-Private Partnerships in Action: The Statewide Impact of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center on the Life Sciences Ecosystem, released today by TEConomy Partners, LLC and Mass Economics. The report, commissioned to provide an independent review of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative (MLSI), finds Massachusetts’ leadership position in life sciences industry development reflects market forces partnered with forward-looking public policy in the form of a $1 billion, 10-year commitment, signed into law in 2008, which charged the then newly created Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to co-invest with life sciences stakeholders and provide a powerful economic and workforce development tool to enhance and accelerate the Commonwealth’s prominence as the leader in  life sciences.

This report relays an important story of a near decade of progress in creating and sustaining public-private partnerships, investing in workforce and economic development and scientific discovery, with an unrelenting focus on human capital and a community-by-community approach to improve human health. All of which further builds upon our mission of making Massachusetts the most vibrant ecosystem for the life sciences in the world.

“We didn’t invent the life sciences ecosystem in Massachusetts, but as a steward of public investment in this key industry, we added much needed depth and a strategic focus to the life science landscape which has without a doubt strengthened the state’s leadership nationally and globally,” said MLSC President & CEO Travis McCready. “This report will be an essential, guiding tool as we move toward the next generation of the Center and life sciences in the Commonwealth.”

According to the report these supportive public investments have made substantial contributions to the growth and advancement of Massachusetts’ life sciences sector in four broad programmatic areas: Investing in Innovation Infrastructure for the Future, Fostering Seed-Stage and Emerging Industry Development, Scaling Up Life Sciences Companies, and Strengthening Connections and the Diversity of Talent.

To address and fill the state’s life sciences ecosystem needs and gaps, the MLSC created strategic programming, the results of which have generated major new federal research grants and new industry collaboration with researchers. Examples include, the MLSC Capital Program, which leveraged $1.67 for every $1 invested; $363 million in private and other investment by MLSC programs focused on seed and early-stage companies; 8,703 new jobs added through FY 2016 by 63 companies through the MLSC Tax Incentive Program, which also produced an estimated $60 million in annual tax revenues via new hiring; more than 3,000 college interns offered experiential learning opportunities at 649 life science companies through the MLSC Internship Challenge; and 149 schools from the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities assisted through the MLSC STEM Equipment and Supplies Program.

The report offers an in depth examination of the development of the life sciences cluster in Massachusetts and compares it with peer states. Among the findings:

  • Along with the rising number of life science jobs, Massachusetts has continued to move up in the quality of jobs being created within the industry. As of 2016, life sciences in Massachusetts employed the second highest number of employees (99,000) among U.S. states and generated the third highest among states in ($13.4 billion) wages.
  • The geographic footprint of life science activity is heavily oriented towards the eastern part of the state, however the report notes that since the inception of the MLSC some evidence does point to growth in cities and towns that historically had not been able to compete for life science jobs.
  • Massachusetts is leading or among the top-tier of benchmark states in life science R&D activity. While NIH funding is declining, at the national level, Massachusetts actually experienced modest gains, one of only three states to do so. Additionally, relative to the size of the state economy, Massachusetts is first among peer states in both patent application and awards.
  • Massachusetts is a “clear winner” when it comes to formal venture capital (VC) investments with companies within the state securing $17.8 billion in cumulative VC funding from 2009-2016.
  • The state employs a high concentration of workers in primary life science-related occupations (e.g. microbiologists, biochemists, biomedical engineers) and is first among peer states in its concentration of these jobs relative to total employment.

The report also relays insight into the rising bar of competition Massachusetts faces, especially in job growth. Increasingly states have increasingly realized the inherent economic and workforce benefits of embracing the life sciences industry and as a result, have attempted to implement aggressive, significant investments to attract companies and other industry stakeholders to their region. In 2007, only 11 states were investing resources and funds to attract life sciences companies; there are now more than 40 states vying for that business.  While Massachusetts has been supported by its strong foundations and commitment to its life sciences innovation ecosystem, the “but for” analysis utilized by the report’s authors finds Massachusetts’ recent job growth is being outpaced by up-and-coming states, as well as, more established life science leaders. These and other trends suggest, according to the report, “…that realizing the full job creation potential of MLSI investments will require identifying strategies to grow, attract, and retain activities that are downstream from R&D, such as medical device and drug/pharma manufacturing and bioscience distribution.”

In June, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a legislative proposal to bolster Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences sector, which would provide up to $500 million over five years for strategic investments in public infrastructure, research and development, and workforce training and education. This includes up to $295 million in capital authorization and up to $150 million in job-creating tax incentives. The funding will continue to be managed by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which is co-chaired by Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.

The report also offers a detailed program-by-program overview measuring the use of resources toward specific program activities relative to economic development and other target outcomes. Numerous leaders and stakeholders have offered their perspective on the impact of the MLSC for their respective organization, all of which are highlighted within the report:

“As the Commonwealth’s public research university, we are extremely proud of the role that the University of Massachusetts has played in anchoring the life sciences industry across the state,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “The critical investments made by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center are supercharging our life sciences ecosystem and positioning Massachusetts for global leadership in this critical industry.”

“From academic medical centers, to translational development, clinical trials and commercialization, MLSC’s success has been built on their commitment to support the continuum across every stage,” says Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO, Boston Children’s Hospital. “Success like this thrives on long-term investment and innovative partnerships, and in just a few short years, the support we’ve received from MLSC is already changing lives.”

“The impact of the new labs we built and the equipment we purchased with the MLSC capital grant is three fold.  First, North Shore Innoventures (NSIV)now has well-equipped labs that help us attract and support great biotech startups because they have confidence they can do good science here that will make a difference in people’s lives.  Second, the startups can stretch their own limited capital much further, so they are more likely to succeed, obtain financing and grow.  And third, our startups are training local college interns on state-of-the-art equipment, making them job-ready – and then frequently hiring them when they graduate,” said Martha C. Farmer, Ph.D., President, CEO and Founder of NSIV. “Since 2014 our facilities and equipment have benefited 25 life sciences startups who have created about 150 jobs and trained nearly 100 interns. The cascade effect is palpable and great for the region’s and the state’s economy.”

“The grant we received from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center in 2014 was critical to allowing us to complete our Hemenway Hall science renovation and expansion exactly as we envisioned it,” says Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “Already, the upgrade and addition of new science laboratories and classroom technology have had a transformative effect on our STEM programs.  We could not be more grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for helping us prepare the next generation of highly educated math and science graduates in the Commonwealth.”

“Kudos to the Mass Life Sciences Center not only for this comprehensive and thoughtful report, but for partnering with forward-thinking organizations across the Commonwealth to advance the life sciences industries,” said Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “When WPI launched the Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center in 2013 with enthusiastic support from the MLSC, we sought not only to fill a critical training gap and answer the workforce demands of industry, but also to provide our faculty and students with a facility that would allow them to further advance their research into biomanufacturing and bioprocessing. This model has proven successful on both fronts, and, perhaps most rewarding, it has also helped hard-working individuals transition from traditional manufacturing to begin new careers in biotech and biopharma.”

More 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 & 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.