Massachusetts plants seed for new biotech destination

With plans to kick-start a bumper crop of biotech activity in Fall River, MA, Massachusetts officials are touting plans for a $28 million biotech facility in the southeastern part of the Bay State. Plans call for the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing to attract a host of startups and companies that will hopefully put the small city on the biotech map.

Yet the site is far from even approaching the biotech largesse of Boston/Cambridge. This week Gov. Deval Patrick and officials from the University of Massachusetts, which will run the new facility, stood on the muddy construction site and talked up the future prospects of the project, The Herald News reported. With grand projections to employ 8,000 people at a life sciences park planned for the area, the biotech facility is expected to house a modest 10 UMass employees when it opens next year.

Patrick championed the growth of the life sciences industry in the Bay State with a $1 billion plan to stimulate biotech activity that was passed early in his first term, yet lawmakers from around the state demanded that the money flow to areas outside of the state's industry core in the Boston area. The state's Life Sciences Center, which administers the stimulus money, granted about half of the funding for the project with UMass and other sources cobbled together the rest, according to the Herald.

Fall River has a history as a hub of manufacturing in the Bay State, and officials hope that the production of life sciences products in the city will bring new jobs. The new facility will serve as a test site for producing biotech products and house startups involved in life sciences.

- here's the Herald article