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Daily Hampshire Gazette – Healey's life science, climate technology plan spans 10 years

Daily Hampshire Gazette – Healey's life science, climate technology plan spans 10 years

 


Boston Gov. Maura Healey said Tuesday morning that she will recommend reauthorizing the state's life sciences business for an additional 10 years in a sweeping economic development bill she plans to introduce this week. told the leader.

Healey said at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce forum that the bill would also provide funding for a 10-year climate change technology initiative. Healy said the goal is to make Massachusetts a global innovation laboratory for the clean energy revolution.

Healey focused on the bill's benefits and did not spend money on the initiative or the overall package, which is expected to require billions of dollars in borrowing as the state grapples with a slowdown in revenue collections. This life sciences effort began in 2008 under former Governor Deval Patrick when he invested his $1 billion over 10 years.

Mr. Healey will make important proposals as he enters his 15th month in office, with just five months left in 2024 to complete formal sessional business, including consideration of a bond bill and a number of other bills. will be done.

Chamber CEO Jim Rooney said he is not concerned about the timeline for lawmakers to work on the bill.

It's always good to give them more time, but I'm not criticizing the timing, Rooney told the news service. Congress is no stranger to dealing with economic development bills. This isn't their first rodeo, so my guess is that the leadership of both branches and the committees associated with this thought of it on their own and knew it was coming.

The bill would provide $100 million in funding for the Applied AI Hub, which would be invested in other programs that foster economic growth, including MassWorks infrastructure grants, the Rural Development Fund, and the Seaport Economic Council. Healey said the bill also seeks funding to capitalize on robotics, advanced manufacturing, tourism growth and the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.

According to the governor, Massachusetts is home to 18 of the world's 20 largest life science companies. Addressing about 700 business and civic leaders, Mr. Healey vowed that Massachusetts would go after the other two companies without naming them.

Two of those companies are Gilead Sciences and Viatris, according to a list of top companies published by a MassBio spokesperson and Drug Discovery & Development.

Healey said this life sciences initiative will fund new drug discovery, collaboration across the healthcare and innovation ecosystem, address health equity, and career paths for students and workers from underrepresented backgrounds. said it would provide.

Asked by Rooney if the effort would focus on biomanufacturing, given the growing presence of life sciences in areas of the state outside of Greater Boston, Healy replied, “Oh, that's a big deal.” . Healy said Worcester is the 15th largest life sciences hub in the country.

Healy said the growth has been exponential. When you talk to people, they want the proximity of manufacturing and research, and we have the space, we have the production capacity, and that's what we wanted to really support and motivate us. , that sets us apart from other places in the country. It can make it more attractive for people to come and do business.

Rooney told the news service he wouldn't be surprised if the investment in the life sciences initiative was about $500 million. Addressing climate change technology could require hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, but Rooney said Massachusetts would realize a high return on investment and be the envy of every state. .

On the biomanufacturing side, this is a relatively new dimension of our strategy and will require some investment, but we see a lot of money being focused there, Rooney said, given the intense competition among other states. He said while pointing out.

Business leaders had hoped biomanufacturing sites would naturally grow around Massachusetts, but that hasn't happened yet, Rooney said.

We need to put together a strategy on the biomanufacturing front, he said. I would love to see elements in the life sciences bill that specifically target active biomanufacturing efforts.

Beyond life sciences, Healy said the Commonwealth's next big initiative is to make Massachusetts a global hub for climate technology through public-private partnerships.

As we sat here and enjoyed this lovely breakfast with each other, within just a few miles of here we have fusion energy, carbon free cement for the construction industry, batteries for EVs, solar power, offshore wind and Healy. he said at a forum held at the Westin Copley Place. That's what's happening here, folks. Massachusetts was trying to solve climate change through innovation.

Mr. Healy gave a high-level overview of efforts in climate change technology, leveraging research already underway at universities, providing resources to start-ups so they can stay here and grow, manufacturing and the workforce. He spoke about expanding development partnerships.

While other states are leading the way in developing artificial intelligence, Healy said he wants Massachusetts to own applied AI.

Here in Massachusetts, Healy said, we can make AI a job creator, not a job destroyer. And we can make sure that Massachusetts businesses, consumers, and workers are leading the way and reaping the benefits of this technology.

The governor's package builds on the economic development plan announced by the administration in December, which calls for Massachusetts to become a leader in climate change technology and tourism while increasing its competitiveness in areas such as life sciences and health care, advanced manufacturing and industry. It outlines the state's strategy. Robotics, artificial intelligence.

Mr. Healey also used his appearance in Congress to tout a $4 billion affordable housing bill that is still being debated in Congress but is expected to move forward in some form.

She called housing the biggest challenge we face and acknowledged local resistance to expanding production. The governor lamented that the federal housing shortage is forcing Bay State residents to live in other places like North Carolina and Texas.

This is the solution we need to overcome decades of inertia and inaction. Making housing more affordable will improve the quality of life for families and remove the biggest barrier to economic growth and development in the state, Healy said.

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