As many other industries around them contracted, the biotech and medical-device sectors in Massachusetts added more than 8,000 jobs over the past five years. What’s more, while life-sciences employment nationwide increased 12 percent nationally since 2000, Massachusetts’ grew more than twice as fast. The state’s edge? The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, according to a recent Boston Foundation report. With these kinds of results, the center is one job-creating initiative lawmakers should continue to fund generously.
The Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency meant to invest in life-sciences research, development, and commercialization through capital grants, business loans, and tax credits. Governor Patrick once projected the $1 billion scheme, launched in 2008, would create 250,000 jobs over 10 years. Even without the economy’s collapse, that forecast was beyond wishful thinking. But it also shouldn’t cancel out what the center has accomplished. Besides job growth, researchers found that the $360 million the state has spent so far has generated $1 billion in spending by private companies. Eight out of 10 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms are now doing business in Massachusetts. New workers are paid, on average, $105,000, and are expected to pay more than $93 million in income and sales taxes to the state over the next five years.