MassDevelopment, MassBio and UMass Hold BioReady Gateway Cities Developer Conference

October 28, 2009


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086
DeWayne Lehman, UMass Boston, 617-287-5302
Sarah MacDonald, MassBio, 617-674-5115

More than 100 biotech industry representatives, real estate developers, and municipal officials from 12 Gateway Cities throughout Massachusetts met at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to discuss development opportunities in the burgeoning biotech sector.

Participating cities – which set up informational booths to highlight the aspects of their communities that would make biotech projects possible – included Brockton, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester.

Attendees heard from MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver, who pointed to the Gateway Cities as fertile ground for biotech and outlined the Agency’s many initiatives in those 12 communities.

“The Gateway Cities have enormous development potential, and our Agency has helped invest more than one billion dollars over the last five years in hundreds of worthwhile projects,” Culver said. “While biotech clusters in Boston and Cambridge are critically important, opportunities all across the Commonwealth exist. Every single one of these cities has something uniquely special to offer to developers.”

MassBio President and CEO Robert K. Coughlin spoke about cities preparing for biotech development and ensuring their economic promise.

“The biotechnology industry is going to grow in Massachusetts and there are natural and obvious opportunities in the Gateway Cities,” Coughlin said. “We are excited to bring the industry together with developers and municipalities to maximize those opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.”

UMass Boston’s Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director William Brah showcased the University’s Venture Development Center, which he said can help biotech entrepreneurs in the first stages of developing their business.

“Our plug and play labs are popular with young entrepreneurial scientists who need an affordable solution to help them launch their early stage ventures,” Brah said.

This conference marks the second all-city event and the seventh in a series of meetings designed to showcase development opportunities in Massachusetts. Previous regional events took place in Springfield, New Bedford, Lawrence, Worcester, and Lowell. MassDevelopment also partnered with NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, to hold a similar event for the real estate community earlier this year. Today’s event was cosponsored by MassBio and UMass Boston.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and local officials to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2008, MassDevelopment financed or managed 265 projects statewide representing an investment of more than $3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 4,001 housing units and more than 10,384 jobs: 5,424 permanent and 4,960 construction-related.