September 2, 2020

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announces newest sponsor for initiative to support female entrepreneurs

Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative increases funding available for year three of initiative to more than $500,000

Waltham—Today, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced Johnson & Johnson Innovation as the newest sponsor for the MLSC’s Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen), a competitive program for women-led life sciences companies. The funding provided to the public-private strategic partnership for the third round of MassNextGen allows Johnson & Johnson Innovation to define a “J&J Awardee” as part of MassNextGen’s awardees in 2020. MassNextGen aims to identify promising women-led life sciences companies and provide critical funding and access to a robust panel of executive coaches.

“The Commonwealth’s life sciences ecosystem, entrepreneurs and investors alike, benefits from a larger pool of diverse leaders,” said Interim MLSC President and CEO Damon Cox. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to supporting public-private partnerships like MassNextGen to produce a more diverse workforce and empower more women in the field. It is essential for Massachusetts to retain its global leadership in the life sciences industry.”

Launched in November 2017, MassNextGen aims to ensure greater gender parity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. With the help of Johnson and Johnson Innovation, in addition to existing sponsors, Takeda, King Street Properties, and Sanofi, at least $512,500 of non-dilutive capital is available for the third year of the program. Winners of a competitive process will receive prizes of approximately $100,000. Additional in-kind support and executive coaching from an illustrious network of seasoned entrepreneurs and life science investors will be available to winners of the challenge. Since the program’s inception, the amount of funding made available to awardees has increased each year, made possible by the addition of new corporate sponsors and support from the MLSC’s Board of Directors.

“We are grateful for the new and ongoing support of MassNextGen’s corporate sponsors, as well as the broader recognition by the industry that investing in strong, diverse leaders is essential to remaining competitive and retaining Massachusetts’ leadership position. ,” said MLSC Vice President for Industry Strategy and Investment Jennifer Griffin. “The MLSC’s full portfolio of programming is focused on establishing the most equitable and diverse life sciences ecosystem in the country.”

The announcement of last year’s MassNextGen awardees took place in June 2019 during a celebratory event at Sanofi in Cambridge. Five women-led companies, representing a wide range of applications to improve human health, received $87,500 in funding and access to a network of executive coaches for a year. The inaugural awardees for the MassNextGen initiative, announced in June 2018, received access to a network of executive coaches for a year. Two of the five awardees received $62,500 in funding in addition to coaching. The MLSC received 30 applications for the third year of MassNextGen from women-led enterprises representing a wide range of applications to improve human health. The MLSC expects to announce year three awardees later this summer.