BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted to pass a bill extending the state’s investment in life sciences research and training to capitalize on the state’s national advantage in the sector responsible for thousands of jobs in the state.
The bill, S.2531, An Act providing continued investment in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth, extends the state’s life sciences tax incentive program for another ten years, proposes millions of dollars in grants to community colleges and vocational schools to increase employment opportunities, and authorizes spending on initiatives to promote regional efforts to advance innovations in bio-manufacturing. The bill is based on the $1 billion, ten-year initiative launched by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007.
“The Bio-tech and life sciences industries are critical components to the future wellbeing of our economy,” said Senator Michael Moore, “As Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education I was particularly pleased that the Senate was able to make some key investments at each of the University of Massachusetts Campuses.”
“The life sciences and bio-manufacturing industry are job creators and integral parts of Massachusetts’ innovation economy,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “A decade ago, Massachusetts made a fantastic investment in life sciences. Today, the Senate seized the opportunity to spread growth and innovation across the Commonwealth and ensure that Massachusetts remains a national leader in the innovation economy.”
“We truly have a biotech and life sciences supercluster here in Massachusetts, and this bill will ensure we continue to grow and lead the way,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “People across the nation and the world depend upon the cutting-edge medical devices, pharmaceuticals and research under development here, and our investments today in innovation, education and workforce training are critical for our continued growth and success.”
“The biotech and life sciences industry has been a key component of Massachusetts’ economic progress over the last ten years. Now the challenge is to spread that growth across the state, to regions that have the manufacturing capacity but need the targeted investments to take advantage of this cutting-edge industry and gain access to the jobs of the future,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, which oversaw the bill. “The investments in this industry that we as a state made ten years ago have helped it flourish here in Massachusetts, and now we can’t afford to lose our national edge. Imagine the lost potential if we allow the next vaccine breakthrough, the next big discovery, the next lifesaving drug, to be developed elsewhere. This bill maintains our leadership in this critical industry and offers us tremendous opportunity to expand economic growth across our state.”
The bill also authorizes spending for innovative new programs at the state’s UMass campuses, including:
• a biotechnology and precision manufacturing research and training facility at UMass-Amherst
• a center for nursing innovation at UMass-Boston
• expansion and renovation of the center for advanced bio-manufacturing and digital health at UMass-Dartmouth
• a joint proposal between UMass-Lowell and UMass Medical School to advance neuroscience workforce training, research and commercialization of medical devices
The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives before going to the governor for his signature.