Patrick Administration doles out more than $100 million for western Mass. life sciences projects

Two innovation and research projects in western Massachusetts have won state grants totaling more than $100 million, including a $95 million award to the University of Massachusetts Amherst that is the largest grant so far under the $1 billion life sciences initiative launched by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007.

Patrick and officials from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the state agency set up to administer the initiative, unveiled the grants Thursday at an event in Amherst.

The UMass Amherst grant will be used to fill out empty space with research equipment on several floors of the university’s existing Life Sciences Laboratories building, which will house three new research centers led by UMass faculty in partnership with life sciences companies in the region. The centers will work on personalized health care, bioactive drug delivery, and new drug models.


In addition to that $95 million grant, the life sciences center will award $5.5 million to the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a joint venture of UMass Amherst and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, to support development of the medical center’s new Center of Innovation in Health Informatics and Technology in the North End of Springfield.

Both grants were earmarked in the legislation that created the life sciences initiative six years ago, although the specific projects receiving the funded had to be developed and approved by the life sciences center.

The center’s previous largest capital project grant was $90 million to help fund the Albert Sherman Center, a research building at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

Other grants under the life sciences initiative have included $14.6 million toward a biomanufacturing center at UMass Dartmouth, and $14.3 million for a Framingham wastewater project that enabled Genzyme Corp. to build a plant to make drugs that treat rare genetic diseases.


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