UMass Amherst Wins $100.5M in Grants From MA Life Sci Initiative

Xconomy Boston — 

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion life sciences initiative has just signed its biggest check to date—and it’s not going to Cambridge.

Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center today pledged $100.5 million to two research projects in Western Massachusetts through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst won a $95 million grant, the largest single grant the initiative has handed out since Patrick signed it into law in 2008. The Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a joint venture between UMass Amherst and the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, got a $5.5 million grant.

UMass Amherst will use the $95 million grant to help build and equip its $157 million Life Sciences Laboratories in Springfield. The labs will include three research centers, be led by UMass Amherst faculty, and will serve as a stronghold to partner with regional life sciences and precision manufacturing companies.

The other grant will help the UMass Amherst-Baystate joint venture develop what is being called the Center of Innovation in Health Informatics and Technology, located adjacent to Baystate’s campus in Springfield. The center will incubate projects developed by startups and more established firms in areas such as “big data” analytics and population health management.

“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to accelerate life sciences-driven economic development across the commonwealth by engaging and building on regional strengths,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “Our investments in UMass Amherst and [Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute] are great examples of that strategy. In addition to its role as a leading academic institution, UMass Amherst is an important catalyst for economic development in western Massachusetts.”

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative was created to invest $1 billion over 10 years to help grow the Massachusetts life sciences cluster.