Governor Deval L. Patrick
Governor Announces Life Sciences Center at UMass Lowell
February 13, 2008
Senator Steven Panagiotakos
I want to tell you how proud I am to be here today, proud because of the work that's done at this university, and certainty not just UMass Lowell, but this project is a collaboration with UMass Worcester; and when you look at this project with just a stickily an economic view point and you look at the number of companies that are ready to work with this center that have products that are viable that can marketable that not only can create economic development but can help people and this a win in so many ways and I have to credit the governor because once we were able to get to his eyes he saw the importance of getting it done. Not in government time, not in bureaucratic time, not in political time but getting it done in business time and that what the governor is here to announce today and I will bring him up to make the announcement because he understands that the future of the Massachusetts economy really is geared and founded in technology as we go forward in the twenty-first century. In the one important sector that we could really target is the life sciences. The governor has been a leader in targeting this and medical devices is one area of that and today he here to make an announcement that I think will help all of us. Governor Deval Patrick.
Thank You. Thank you very much. Special thanks to Chairman Panagiotakos, the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, he's a great friend every day, a special friend during budget time. Thank you for your leadership here in Lowell, and as the Chancellor said, all across the Commonwealth. And I do want to thank Chancellor Meehan and all of the UMass Lowell family for the very, very warm welcome, and its great to be with the members of the delegation as well and the other elected officials and their representatives who are here.
I am very proud to join all of you today in announcing a Commonwealth investment of $4 million to create a renewed M2D2 center at UMass Lowell. Everybody know what M2D2 is? Who doesn't? All right, some of you don't. The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, thank you very much. And we are - yes, make some noise about it. In partnership with UMass Worcester, the M2D2 Center here has the purpose of assisting startup companies in developing patented ideas into prototypes, which is what's necessary to navigate through the federal review process. This is very, very important. I don't know if any of you, or all of you have had a chance to visit with some of the companies whose displays are in the back here. Have a look if you haven't, and see the extraordinary things that they are doing to advance healing, but also to advance our economic opportunities. And it is happening here in Massachusetts and we can accelerate this by making the kinds of investments that we have proposed to do, including today's.
And we're very proud in that vein to continue our partnership with UMass and our private partners, in developing the innovation infrastructure we need to move new ideas to cures, creating new companies and new jobs as we go. Thanks to the hard work of our congressional delegation, Massachusetts has received a generous share of NIH funding over the years. But that funding has been flat in recent years and burdened by restrictions on certain types of research. These restrictions, unfortunately, have more to do with politics than they do with healing. For this and other reasons, many promising innovations, therapies and cures have fallen into the so-called valley of death where public support for research runs dry before the market steps in with financing. Right now, innovative ideas that could lead to new cures, new products, and new companies, are languishing from a lack of available support.
Our researchers are developing ideas and innovations at a faster rate, in fact, than can be developed into new cures, and that's an opportunity that we should not let go by. A needs assessment performed with local venture capitalists, industry executives, university technology transfer officers, and medical center leaders showed that the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center could service four- to five-times as many medical device concepts as it does right now. I think I have that right, Tom, yes. With smart investments in the right places, that could mean up to ten new companies per year creating medical breakthroughs, products, and very good jobs right here in Massachusetts.
The $4 million award we're announcing today will leverage state funding and partnership with private industry and with education to create an unbroken line of support from inspiration to commercialization. This investment provides a glimpse of how we can come together to spark new growth in this industry, which is the thrust behind our life sciences initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion commitment to extend, to secure and extend, our global leadership in this field. I've been continually assured that the bill is on track for passage very soon. We are all looking forward to that, to legislative action, and we are grateful for the action that has taken forth, taken place so far. It has accelerated. And let me just acknowledge the members of the House and the Senate here for their partnership on this. This is a way both to create jobs and to advance healing. Job creation and economic growth are an essential part of our agenda for 2008 and beyond.
The life sciences, along with other initiatives we have in clean energy technology, our proposal for destination resort casinos frankly, all lie as parts of a general strategy, a broad strategy, to create new economic opportunity and growth all across the Commonwealth and in every strata of employment. Last year the life sciences in Massachusetts grew 45% faster than our economy overall, and one in every three products and services exported by Massachusetts are life sciences-related, most of that in medical devices.
According to a study by Northeastern University, every direct job we create in life sciences, meaning the researchers and the technicians and lab assistants, brings up to five indirect jobs in service related or vendor-support services. Now think about that. Every time we advance, take a step forward in the life sciences, there's a multiplier effect of up to five jobs. And the point that I keep trying to drive and I ask all of you to help me drive, is that the inverse is also true. That as long as we wait to take action and we risk, and indeed lose a life sciences job, we risk losing those five related jobs as well. The cost of inaction is too high. We must keep moving forward here. The world right now wants what we have.
I was at the Bio Conference, as many of you were, in Boston this last year, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Bio Conference before last spring. But there's an even every year where members of the life sciences industry from all around the world come together and they had it in Boston last year, and there were 40,000 attendees from all over the world. I think the Singapore delegation was 400 people. And they all come here because they want what we have. The concentration of brain power and research institutions and teaching hospitals and venture capital, all of that has created this internationally-known supercluster around the life sciences. But we must not sit still and assume that because we have it today, we will have it tomorrow. We made that mistake once in the context of high-tech, when all around the world, the phrase Route 128 was known to describe a small neighborhood in Massachusetts where everything worthwhile in high-tech was happening and where you had to be. And while we celebrated that, and should have, Silicone Valley invented itself, and so much of what we had was lured away and out from under us. We will not let that happen in the context of life sciences and so we are working very, very closely with the legislature, with members of private industry, with the academic community, to shore up and extend this lead that we have in the life sciences. Today is a step on that path, and I'm very proud that that step is happening right here at UMass Lowell and that you could all be with us to share in this launch. I think you'll be up and running in a year, I'm told, is that right? Put that on the record 'cause we'll be back to be sure that it's up and running in a year. Thank you everybody for being here.