For Immediate Release - September 23, 2009

Governor Patrick, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announce Approval of $90 Million Investment in the Albert Sherman Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School

State of the Art, 500,000 Square Foot Research Facility to House Advanced Therapeutics Cluster

Boston , MA - Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Science Center announced today that the Center's Board of Directors has approved $90 million in capital funding toward the construction of the $405 million Albert Sherman Center Project at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). A key targeted investment in the Life Science Act, the facility will further bolster the pioneering life sciences research and medical education taking place at UMass Medical School in Worcester. The construction and operation of the Albert Sherman Center is projected to create thousands of jobs and generate substantial economic activity throughout Massachusetts.

"The Life Sciences Act was designed to create jobs and support life-saving research, and this project will do both," said Governor Deval Patrick. "This is just the sort of investment we need to be making in order to put people to work, and support long-term growth in our innovation economy."

"Through the passage of last year's life sciences bill, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has the opportunity to financially assist the University of Massachusetts Medical School in its efforts to launch a new era in research and development," said Lt. Governor Tim Murray. "The overall investment for the medical school will be extraordinary, housing the expansion of the Nobel Prize winning discovery made there to help cure diseases, and in the process also create thousands of jobs."

"This investment by the Massachusetts Life Science Center recognizes that UMass Medical School is at the forefront of some of the most exciting and promising medical discoveries in the world," said Michael F. Collins, MD, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts and Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "The Albert Sherman Center and its supporting infrastructure will attract accomplished researchers, physicians, faculty, students and industry partners to the state's public medical school and enhance our position, and that of the region, as an international leader in medical research and education."

"This is the Center's largest investment to date, in a project that will create thousands of jobs and strengthen Massachusetts' leadership in a growing field of scientific inquiry," said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "The Sherman Center will attract top scientists to Massachusetts, and the research that will be conducted there will lead to the creation of new companies and new jobs throughout the Massachusetts economy. Massachusetts' first and only public medical school has always been on the pioneering edge of science, and we look forward to an ongoing partnership with UMass Medical School as this important project moves forward."

"This crucial investment will benefit our economy, help promote innovative research, and serves as a great example of the importance of the Life Sciences Center to our region and the entire state, and the need to continue to provide support to this essential industry," said State Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester).

"It is rewarding to see such tremendously cooperative efforts made together by the Legislature, Governor and Lt. Governor's Office, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and UMass Medical School," said Representative Jim O'Day (D-Worcester). "This cooperation will make it possible for the Albert Sherman Center to fulfill its purpose of creating jobs and conducting prominent research in Worcester, a hub of biotechnology and the life sciences. The future looks incredibly bright."

"The funding approved by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center serves as the cornerstone for a facility that will extend the boundaries of medical and scientific knowledge and will strengthen UMass Medical School's standing as a global center of research and education excellence," said UMass President Jack M. Wilson. "The work that will be conducted in the Sherman Center will lead to breakthroughs that will touch and save lives and to discoveries that will help to drive our state's innovation-based economy. This is a major project for the University of Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and this investment constitutes a critical step forward."

Slated for completion in 2012, the 500,000-square-foot Sherman Center will be a state-of-the-art research and education facility designed to maximize collaboration among researchers, educators and learners across disciplines. The new facility will be home to the Advanced Therapeutics Cluster (ATC), comprising the RNA Therapeutics Institute, the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Gene Therapy Center, and contain wet research space for more than 100 investigators. Translational scientists in the ATC will pursue novel bench-to-bedside research in these emerging scientific fields with the goal of developing new innovative therapies for diseases.

The Sherman Center will also integrate cutting-edge, quantitative "dry lab" methods such as bioinformatics, biostatistics, interactive health outcome assessments and electronic health care data systems with the work of biologists and chemists in the "wet lab."

Under the terms of the funding, UMass Medical School will receive $90 million from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center during the life of the construction project.

 

According to the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, which conducted an economic impact analysis of the Sherman Center, the construction and operation of the facility will have an estimated $1 billion statewide economic impact. The over $400 million in direct construction spending is expected to support approximately 6,000 jobs and generate over $760 million in total statewide economic activity during the building of the Center. When fully operational, the Sherman Center is projected to support 1,600 jobs and $264 million in annual economic activity throughout the state. The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held on Thursday, September 17 th, 2009.

 

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 between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit masslifesciences.com.

 

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $200 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The work of UMMS researcher Craig Mello, PhD, an investigator of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and his colleague Andrew Fire, PhD, then of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, toward the discovery of RNA interference was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine and has spawned a new and promising field of research, the global impact of which may prove astounding. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information, visit umassmed.edu.

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