Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and leaders from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center visited Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Gateway Park on May 25, 2010, for a discussion of life sciences job growth at Gateway and in the region. Patrick met with President Dennis Berkey and other senior WPI officials, and with representatives of the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Sciences at WPI and Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), to talk about the Center’s recent $6.6 million grant to WPI that will support the next phase of life sciences-related development at Gateway Park.
The grant, which the center’s board of directors awarded in February, leverages $25 million in private investment for the development of a new 80,000-square-foot life sciences facility anticipated to create 120 construction jobs and 142 new permanent jobs at completion. It supports the development of WPI's Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC), a new incubator for MBI, and expanded academic and research space, including new facilities for the Massachusetts Academy. The BETC is planned as a 10,000-square-foot facility that will provide hands-on biomanufacturing training to support industry workforce development. In addition, the expanded development will make available 40,000 square feet of additional lab and office space for commercial and academic uses, including workforce development.
"We are delighted to welcome Gov. Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Susan Windham-Bannister back to Gateway Park," President Berkey said. "There is a bright future ahead for this hub for scientific and technological advancement and economic growth. The $6.6 million in funding that WPI recently received from the Mass. Life Sciences Center will provide direct support for training in biomanufacturing, new business creation, and advanced research in life science applications. This will create opportunity for development of new therapies and devices that can improve human health and can help spur job growth in the Commonwealth."
MBI is planning to expand its incubator resources by developing a new wet-lab core facility to help more companies launch, grow, and provide jobs. It currently operates three life sciences incubators in central Massachusetts (one of which is located in the first Gateway Park building), and has graduated 30 companies, creating 265 new jobs since 2000.
“Massachusetts’ number-one priority is putting shovels in the ground and people to work right now,” Patrick said. “The upcoming construction at Gateway Park is a great example of that. To date, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has invested $186 million in public funds, leveraging more than $700 million in additional investment, and creating more than 6,400 projected jobs. Nearly 65 percent of the dollars invested thus far has been invested in central Massachusetts.”
Windham-Bannister noted: “Significant growth in the life sciences is taking place in the Worcester area, thanks in large part to the more than $100 million in investments that the center has made in the region. Our investment in Gateway Park will help to accelerate that growth even further, while supporting a terrific project that will create jobs, provide training for a next generation of life sciences workers, foster the growth of new companies, and advance scientific research.”