Thursday, 4:30 PM
Patrick to announce major biotechnology initiative
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick plans to announce a $1 billion life sciences initiative today at the BIO International Convention.
Patrick's office released few details about the announcement, which was noted on the governor's official schedule. Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray will unveil the proposal at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which is hosting the world's largest biotechnology conference.
The $1 billion initiative would blend bond money and state appropriations over 10 years, according to a Patrick aide who requested anonymity because the official announcement will not be made until this afternoon. The proposal was described by the aide as a partnership between government, private industry, and university researchers that would "make Massachusetts a leader in the life sciences industry."
The money would be channeled in grants through the Life Sciences Center. WBUR radio cited unidentified legislative aides in a report this morning that said the money would fund the creation of an embryonic stem-cell bank fund and other biotechnology research at Massachusetts universities.
Any commitment of state funds would require legislative approval. Both House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray last year voted in favor of a bill encouraging stem cell research.
But many social conservatives, including President Bush, oppose the work because embryos are destroyed in the process. The microscopic embryos are usually donated by fertility clinics.
Material from the Associated Press is included in this report.