MassBio's Strategic Plan

Data shows opportunity lies in growing model of virtual biotechs & contract services

In order to fully realize the opportunities available to grow life sciences in Massachusetts, state and industry leaders must work to support the growing contract research and contract manufacturing capacity in the Commonwealth, speakers at the Massachusetts CRO/CMO Symposium said today.

Responding to survey data which shows one in every three biopharma jobs in Massachusetts is at a CRO or CMO, MassBio’s executive team announced a new campaign to advocate for changes to Massachusetts’ tax incentive and financing programs to broaden access for contract services companies. Most CROs and CMOs cannot access incentive programs under the Life Sciences Initiative or other state programs.

“Impact 2020 calls out the critical role CRO/CMOs play in drug discovery and development, and therefore the future of the life sciences industry here in Massachusetts,” said MassBio President & CEO Robert K. Coughlin. “We must reshape the state’s incentive programs in order to make the most of our opportunity. In the end, it’s about reducing the cost and speeding the time to market for new drugs and therapies for patients in need.”

Based on survey data reported by many of the state’s 225+ CRO and CMO organizations, contract services companies employee nearly 16,000 people and occupy more than 5.6 million square feet of space in Massachusetts. Estimated revenues from Massachusetts’ CRO and CMOs nears $2.5 billion.

Impact 2020, MassBio’s industry strategic report released last month, outlines a new business model for drug discovery and development where companies focus on efficiency and contract out research and manufacturing functions. Data shows this trend will continue to grow, and the report urges industry and legislative leaders to support policies that encourage this growth in Massachusetts. The report also points out that in order to sustain and nurture the Commonwealth’s strength in R&D employment, the state must respond as some of the R&D jobs that currently reside in-house transition to strategic CRO/CMO partners. The state must respond with the appropriate investment and incentive structures that recognize the transition.

“We are the world leader in life sciences not only because we are home to cutting-edge startups and Big Pharma, but also all of the services that support those companies. With the current funding climate making it much more challenging to build fully-integrated companies, we will see a continued surge in virtual companies and contract services to drive forward new treatments and cures,” said MassBio Chief Business Officer John Hallinan. “Massachusetts must evolve to reflect how the industry is changing so we can continue to lead.”

MassBio’s strategic reports have been key to strengthening the regional life sciences cluster, which today is recognized as the global leader for life sciences innovation. Developed by consulting firm Health Advances through in-depth interviews of more than 100 thought leaders, Impact 2020 recommends:

  • Driving the conversation on defining value and reward for innovation in the era of outcomes-focused medicine;
  • Seizing a leadership opportunity at the intersection of IT and life science;
  • Evolving funding models for early stage companies and innovative ideas;
  • Improving workforce development to ensure a workforce trained for the jobs of the future and support downstream expansion; and
  • Highlighting patient stories to showcase the impact of innovation taking place in Massachusetts

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