Investment in bio-tech has paid off and should be re-upped, Healey says – Boston Herald

Gov. Maura Healey speaks at MassBio’s State of Possible Conference, Wednesday. She’s pushing for 10 more years of the Life Sciences Initiative, a $1 billion investment into one of the state’s key industries. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

Even in uncertain economic times, there is a difference between spending and investment, according to the governor.

Gov. Maura Healey used an appearance before the state’s collected biotechnology thought leaders and entrepreneurs to tout her administration’s plan to reauthorize another 10 years for the Life Science Initiative, a soon-to-expire investment into one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Speaking before the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council at a “State of the Possible Conference” held in Cambridge on Wednesday, Healey said that investment into biotechnology has paid off big time for the commonwealth, representing one of the “greatest economic policy success examples that we have ever seen,” resulting in $6 billion in private investments, and creating an economic ecosystem that is “envy of the world.”

“I’m so proud of the fact that Massachusetts is the global epicenter for life sciences — it is!” Healey said. “Our job, our responsibility, our commitment to all of you, is to ensure that we remain the global epicenter.”

Filed this February, Healey’s “Mass Leads Act” would fund the Life Science Initiative originally signed into law by former Gov. Deval Patrick past its current expiration date of June 30, 2025 to the tune of $1 billion dollars.

According to the governor, the new version of the initiative won’t just support research at big tech firms, but start ups and “those hungry founders and entrepreneurs” struggling to pay rent and make payroll.

Healey seemed to acknowledge that her economic development bill comes at a time when the state is facing some serious economic headwinds, but called on the business leaders assembled before her to continue support forthe state’s position as a global hub for innovation.

“We also understand, as you do, that there is a difference between budget expenses and necessary investments that you have to make,” Healey said. “So I ask for your help and your advocacy in continuing to preach and to talk about the value of investments and what they can yield.”

“You have to look no further than what this industry has already done over the last many years through intentional investments,” she said.

According to the governor, 32% of venture capital funding in the United States is spent in Massachusetts. Last year, the Bay State beat New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California when it comes to job growth in bio-pharma research and development, and outpaced New York, New Jersey, Texas, and North Carolina in biomanufacturing job growth, Healey said.

“Greater Boston, as we know, is the number one life sciences cluster in the country,” she said.

The Mass Leads Act, or “An Act relative to strengthening Massachusetts’ economic leadership,” is currently before the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies but has not been scheduled for a hearing.


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