Building Breakthroughs

Program Overview

The Building Breakthroughs Capital Call is designed to provide grants for capital projects that support the life sciences ecosystem in Massachusetts by enabling and supporting biomanufacturing innovation, including improvements to upstream/downstream processing, production of cell and gene therapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecules, quality and safety, and storage/stability in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts recognizes that as new innovative therapeutic modalities are being developed, including cell and gene therapies, a biomanufacturing bottleneck exists keeping therapies from patients. Further, currently marketed products can benefit from biomanufacturing innovation to reduce costs and avoid drug shortages. And as the life science innovation capital of the world, home to hundreds of companies pioneering innovative therapies and treatments, Massachusetts is well poised to lead in developing these critical biomanufacturing innovations.

Design: Project teams comprise not-for-profit applicants collaborating with at least one for-profit Massachusetts life science company to solve some of the most pressing biomanufacturing problems

  • Up to $10M capital dollars are available to support work and equipment at not-for-profit partners; each award is anticipated to be ~$750K
  • For-profit partner provides salary support for at least one postdoctoral fellow to be appointed, at least in part, at the not-for-profit partner, as well as other financial and in-kind contributions to leverage MLSC capital dollars
  • Projects should be completed within 2 years post grant award


  1. Catalyze development of novel technologies/techniques to manufacture new innovative therapies and/or improve existing manufacturing processes
  2. Establish biomanufacturing infrastructure for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that can benefit the life science ecosystem
  3. Engage industry and create a competitive environment for clinical and commercial advanced biomanufacturing

Program Eligibility

Applicants must be a Massachusetts legally organized “not-for-profit” entity such as an academic/research institution, a hospital engaged in research, business incubator or accelerator, or other not-for-profit entity that would be eligible for capital funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Institutions that are exclusively health care providers and/or requests for the purchase of equipment associated with standard healthcare delivery would not be eligible for capital funding.

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be not-for-profit institutions, including research institutions and academic medical centers
  • Each application must be submitted by a Project Team, consisting of a principal investigator(s) (PI) at Applicant and one (or more) Company(s)
  • The PI must have a full-time or part-time faculty position at a college, university, or non-profit institute in Massachusetts. The Company, and if more than one Company is participating, the lead Company who is providing postdoctoral support, must have a presence in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and be registered to do business in Massachusetts.
  • The requested funding must support the performance of translational research that is intended to accelerate innovations in biomanufacturing processes/technologies. The requested funds can only be used to support capital costs (equipment, supplies, reagents) at the MA non-profit institution.
  • Projects will be evaluated, in part, based on the level of support offered to the Applicant in a support letter(s) which delineates the amount of cash, in-kind, and/or other contributions (equipment donation, etc.) to be provided by the Company and any other sources (federal grants, etc.). The more MLSC dollars are being leveraged by additional third party support, the stronger the application. In addition, the Company will be required to provide documentation by the Applicant of a cash component to support at least one postdoctoral fellow following grant award.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how they will work collaboratively with the Company to pursue commercialization of the relevant process, technology, and/or product.
  • These funds are intended to catalyze new biomanufacturing innovations. Therefore, sponsored research agreements (or other similar arrangements) executed before January 15, 2019 between the parties will not be considered as part of the letter of support for this program.
  • The Applicant and Company must be in compliance with all other Center agreements, if any.

Application and Review Process

The program is now closed. Top applicants may be asked to meet with our review panel and will be notified of such a request.


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