State grants to target life sciences firms
Boston Business Journal - by Julie M. Donnelly
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which administers the 10-year, $1 billion life sciences act, has announced it has set aside $3 million to launch a matching grant program for small companies.
This is the first time since the bill was enacted in July of 2008 that the center has opted to give out cash awards to companies. Previous grants have been directed to infrastructure and academic researchers, while companies have received loans and tax credits. The Life Sciences Center was tasked with setting up a number of grant programs as part of the bill, but has had to delay implementation due in part to budget cuts.
The new small business matching grant program will match federal small business grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Defense for early-stage life sciences companies in Massachusetts. The center will begin accepting on-line applications for the new program Feb. 1.
The program will provide matching grants of up to $500,000 to eligible life sciences companies. Life science center officials said they would seek out companies whose products are production-ready and that are likely to create additional jobs in the state.
The business community is welcoming the move.
“This is a precedent setting program, really the first of its kind in the 50 states, supporting the growth of companies that are going into commercialization,” said Robert Baker, president of the Smaller Business Association of New England, in a statement. “No other state has this type of incentive to help companies get to that next level and the Smaller Business Association of New England, which had a big role in founding this program, is happy to put our support behind it now.”