MassBio's Strategic Plan

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Support for Contract Research & Manufacturing Critical to Growth in Life Sciences

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

Crossroads of Biotech & IT

Building buzz for Impact 2020: MassBio’s Strategic Report, we hosted our second Twitter Chat last night, this time focused on the intersection of biotech, tech, and devices & diagnostics in Massachusetts. Thank you to all who joined us and a special thanks to our guest moderator, Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

In this chat we discussed:

  • Should life sciences and technology seek to collaborate more than they do now?
  • Is the combination of devices, IT, diagnostics, and biotech potent enough to catalyze unique collaborations and spawn new industry models?
  • What can Big Data do for life sciences and vice versa?
  • Who will spearhead these partnerships and why doesn’t more seem to be happening?

Check out the conversation!

Impact 2020 Screenshot #2

It’s Who You Know

Building buzz for Impact 2020: The MassBio Strategic Report, we hosted our first ever Twitter Chat last night – thank you to all who joined us!  This chat was focused on one of the report’s findings that Massachusetts is such a tight-knit biotech community that sometimes “It’s Who You Know” that makes a difference.

Those new to the local scene are quick to note the powerful relationships they encounter among us locals. Tapping into that community can be daunting, and led one recent stakeholder to call the Massachusetts biotech community “The Club” when being interviewed for the Impact 2020 report.

On the other hand, our tight-knit community means that entrepreneurs have near-instant access to a wide variety resources, and there’s a good chance we’re all six degrees of professional separation from Bob Langer or Henri Termeer.

What does our close community mean to you, and how can we make sure our network works to build the Massachusetts cluster?

Click here to check out the conversation!

Impact 2020 Screenshot #1

Impact 2020 Survey

Help shape the future of MassBio! MassBio is asking our members to take a 5-minute survey designed to understand current offerings and potential future initiatives that are being considered for MassBio’s strategic report, Impact 2020.


Your survey responses will be anonymous and data from this research will be reported only in the aggregate. lf you have questions at any time about the survey or the procedures, you may contact Health Advances by email at

We may be interested in following up with you based on your answers. If you’d be willing to speak with us and want to be eligible to win a $25 gift card to Catalyst Restaurant in Cambridge, MA, you can opt to provide us with your contact information at the end of the survey.

Thank you for your time and support!