NORWOOD — Less than a week before the international BIO 2023 convention gets underway in Boston, top Healey administration officials Tuesday announced a $24.4 million round of tax credits to 43 life sciences companies across Massachusetts.
The incentives are expected to help add nearly 1,600 jobs at biotech and medtech companies. They are part of a 15-year-old life sciences initiative launched by former governor Deval Patrick in 2008 to accelerate the growth of the sector in the state.
They come as industry leaders wait for Governor Maura Healey to unveil “Life Sciences 3.0” — an extension, with new funding, of the legislation sponsored by Patrick and reauthorized by former governor Charlie Baker in 2018 to finance the program.
So far, the Legislature has committed more than $1.6 billion to the initiative, which has been credited with helping to create more than 11,000 jobs. Healey has said she plans to extend the program, but hasn’t specified her timetable or how much money she’ll seek.
Yvonne Hao, the state’s economic development secretary, said administration officials are working on the next iteration of the life sciences initiative in conjunction with a broader economic development plan. It’s not yet clear if lawmakers will approve additional funding.
On a Tuesday morning visit to the Moderna vaccine manufacturing plant in Norwood, the governor called Massachusetts “the global epicenter” of life sciences. Healey noted that industry leaders will be arriving from all over the world next week for BIO, saying she is eager to showcase the state’s life sciences hub and “make sure Massachusetts not only protects its lead but lengthens its lead in this critical global industry.
“I’m a little competitive,” she said, “and I don’t plan to lose ground to any other state or any other country.”
Healey led a delegation of state officials who announced the tax incentives after touring the plant operated by Moderna, which produced and distributed one of the first COVID vaccines and is a shining light of the state’s life sciences cluster. The Cambridge-based company got the largest award: a $3.1 million tax credit to add 209 manufacturing and support jobs at the facility.
“The company was started in Massachusetts, and we’re very proud to keep expanding in the state,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, which recently purchased a biomanufacturing plant in Marlborough and is planning further expansion there.
The tax credits, allocated over five years, are administered by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public agency charged with boosting life sciences research and manufacturing employment in the state. The agency also awards grants and loans. Eligible companies work on drug discovery, medical devices, and diagnostics.
Incentives are awarded to companies of all sizes, but over the past five years state officials have sought to steer more funding toward to those based outside of the industry’s local hub in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and neighboring Boston. Twenty-six of the 43 companies receiving awards Tuesday are expanding outside of Boston and Cambridge.
“It’s about relaying to a company that we have your back,” said life sciences center president Kenn Turner. “Particularly when it comes to manufacturing, the competition is fiercer than ever and companies have options other than us. We are well aware of that... Countless companies with their bases in Kendall Square are finding their manufacturing footprint could be in Worcester, in Woburn, in Framingham.”
In addition to the Moderna award, eight other tax credits set to be announced Tuesday are worth $1 million or more:
Bristol-Myers Squibb will get $1.1 million to create 77 jobs in Boston and Devens; Charles River Laboratories, $1.4 million, to add 98 jobs in Wilmington; Intellia Therapeutics, $1.2 million, to create 85 jobs in Cambridge; Nova Biomedical, $1.1 million, to add 75 jobs in Waltham.
Sarepta Therapeutics will get $1.5 million, to add 100 jobs in Cambridge; Takeda Pharmaceuticals, $1.8 million, to create 125 jobs in Lexington; Tessera Therapeutics, $1.1 million, to add 75 jobs in Somerville; and, WuXi Biologics USA, $1 million, to create 25 jobs in Worcester.
Robert Weisman can be reached at email@example.com.