Chancellor Collins: Basic science research key to sustaining Massachusetts biotech industry

By Bryan Goodchild and Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

June 11, 2014

The thriving life sciences industry in Massachusetts is hailed as a national model, but declining funds for basic research is jeopardizing that success, Chancellor Michael F. Collins told lawmakers at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) caucus at the State House.

"One of the things I like about being from UMass and Massachusetts is when it comes to science, we're the best," said Chancellor Collins, who joined a panel discussion on a new report from MassBio analyzing the future of biotech in the commonwealth.  "What I read in this report is a word of caution, that when you're the best, everyone wants to go after you."

Massachusetts received more National Institutes of Health funding per capita than any other state, Collins said, and that funding is based on the merits of the research. With the federal research dollars shrinking, some are calling to re-examine how the funds are allocated.

The MassBio “Impact 2020” report is a call to action to strengthen the state’s life sciences and biotech industry in the wake of declining federal research dollars, changing health care costs and decreasing availability of seed and early-stage funding options.

The June 10 caucus on the report was presented by MassBio President and CEO Robert Coughlin; State Sen. Karen Spilka, Biotech caucus co-chair; and Impact 2020 authors Sheela Hedge and Skip Irving, of Health Advances. Panelists included Joseph Alviani, vice president, government affairs at Partners Healthcare; Glenn Batchelder, founder and board member of Civitas Therapeutics and chairman of the MassBio Board of Directors; and Collins.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Telegram: UMMS looks beyond the NIH for biomedical research funding
In Convocation address, Chancellor Collins calls for more support of research funding, honors outstanding faculty
Chancellor Collins visits D.C. to discuss fiscal cliff
Mello visits DC to discuss the impact of NIH funding cuts
Chancellor Collins in the Telegram: Fiscal cliff threatens research