Governor Deval Patrick today broke ground on the $28 million Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing (MAB) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The facility, a result of Governor Patrick's $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, is expected to create 120 construction jobs and ten permanent jobs and strengthen Massachusetts' standing as a world leader in the life sciences industry.
"Massachusetts is leading the world in the life sciences thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud of this investment and I look forward to seeing the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing create jobs and further strengthen our leadership in the life sciences."
"The SouthCoast has a great deal to offer as a destination for biomanufacturing, and this new facility will serve as an anchor for efforts to attract industry to the region," said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency charged with implementing Governor Patrick's ten-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative. "This facility will also provide area students with opportunities to gain experience in, and increase the local talent pool of individuals with the skills needed for jobs in biomanufacturing."
The MAB has been funded in part through a $14.6 million capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. UMass Dartmouth has invested $10 million in capital funds and an additional $3 million is anticipated from equipment grants and corporate donations.
Governor Patrick directed $38 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) funds to construct a new exit ramp from route 24 that provides direct highway access to the new 300 acre "Biopark" where the MAB is located in Fall River. This was the largest ARRA-funded public works project in the Commonwealth.
With expected completion next summer, the MAB will be the only facility in the United States where startups will be able to test their biomanufacturing methods and bioproducts at every stage of development and access full-service support from business and marketing to pure science support -- all under one roof. The MAB is designed to serve researchers and entrepreneurs as they develop products and methods that will reshape the fields of biotherapeutics, biomedicine and green chemistry.
"As a native son of Fall River, a proud alumnus of UMass Dartmouth and Chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, I am filled with pride today," said Chairman James Karam. "UMass students and faculty will benefit by the opportunity to work elbow-to-elbow with life science professionals in world class laboratories. Our graduates will work in the companies locating at the center and at the companies that spin off from the center."
"I welcome this new facility as a sign of UMass Dartmouth's emergence as a major research enterprise within the University of Massachusetts," said UMass President Robert L. Caret. "Currently, UMass is number one in life sciences patents among universities in Massachusetts and number two in New England for royalties from products we've commercialized. The MAB will build on the strengths of the UMass system, and take UMass Dartmouth to the next level in research."
"This world-class Accelerator for Biomanufacturing will be a game changer," said Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "This is another strategic investment that enables UMass Dartmouth to fulfill its service mission to the Commonwealth and to expand its role as the anchor of the SouthCoast Innovation Triangle."
Massachusetts, renowned as a center for life sciences research, has emerged as a global center for biomanufacturing as well as a leader in biomanufacturing technology innovation. The Commonwealth, and the New England region, is the top center in the world for mammalian cell-based production and among the top 10 locations for microbial-based production.
The event is one of several that will precede next month's Bio International Convention, which will be held in Boston June 18-21, with participation expected from more than 15,000 life sciences leaders from all over the world. The pre-events will highlight Massachusetts' expanding leadership in the life sciences under Governor Patrick, and the Patrick-Murray Administration's success at attracting life sciences companies to Massachusetts.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a ten-year, $1 billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The Center's mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community.