June 12, 2008

Big Bucks for Bio Research in Massachusetts

A billion dollar life sciences research funding bill is well on its way to approval here in Massachusetts and Worcester specifically would get a sizable chunk of the money.

House passes science package

A billion-dollar, 10-year package of research grants, public construction money and targeted tax credits, all aimed at maintaining the state's leadership in life science research and expanding life science industries, passed the House yesterday on a fast track for Senate approval and the governor's signature.

The bill, under development since Gov. Deval L. Patrick proposed it along with legislative leaders one year ago, will offer $25 million annually in research and industry grants, $25 million annually in life science industry tax credits and $50 million annually for public research facilities and industrial support infrastructure.

About $216 million would go toward new life science research centers at the University of Massachusetts, including $90 million for the state's share of a planned genetic therapy research center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and $95 million for a Life Science Center at the Amherst campus...

The bill also sets aside funding for regional life science and technology centers in Pittsfield, Lowell, Springfield, Framingham, Dartmouth, Boston, Taunton and Woods Hole, most of which will be associated with local colleges.

Tax incentives will come in the form of tax credits toward the purchase of property for life science companies. The bill expands from 5 years to 15 years the tax exemption for life science companies and other bonus tax credits for firms that locate in designated economic opportunity areas...

The bill passed the House on a 142-15 vote, with Republicans accounting for almost all of the opposition votes. However, Worcester-area Republicans backed the legislation...
Massachusetts is a very good place to be a scientist.

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