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Senator Karen Spilka Hosts Russian Delegation at the State House

June 30, 2011

Senator Karen Spilka and the Russian Delegation

After returning last night from the 2011 BIO International Convention, Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies hosted a delegation of senior Russian government officials this morning at the State House.

The group met for a roundtable discussion about how Massachusetts has paved the way in life sciences industries and initiatives. The delegation was interested in learning from the work of our legislators in regards to the Commonwealth’s approach to life sciences and biotechnology and how we have remained in the forefront in these cutting-edge industries.

Senator Spilka spoke about the landmark Life Sciences Initiative Bill of 2008 which invests in a variety of programs dedicated to the life sciences industry. The 10 year, $1 billion bill has kept Massachusetts as the leader in life sciences, healthcare technology, and clean energy and has made our state a model across the nation.

“The key reason this bill is such a success is the fact that we brought many different people to the table in its drafting,” said Senator Spilka. “Through active collaboration between government officials, business leaders, and members of local academic institutions, we were able to create a bill which has grown our economy, increased our workforce, and has made Massachusetts the state to go to for life science investment.”

The delegation included members of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, a member of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, members of President Medvedev’s Skolkovo project, which is being called the Russian Silicon Valley, and other prominent leaders in biotechnology corporations. Those in attendance were eager to learn about all aspects of the life sciences bill in hopes of modeling their plans for advancement and development in the field after our successes.

One member, Elisabeth Psilikounas, spoke about investments made in Framingham, saying, “The investment has made Framingham the scientific hub for Genzyme. By giving the town the funds needed to build the facility, the state turned it into an innovation center for the company.” Many in the group agreed that by investing in the local communities, giving them the opportunity to develop is the best way to attract business to the region.

Senator Spilka, who represents Framingham, told the group just how crucial that investment has been for the MetroWest region. “We secured almost $13 million in funding for Framingham so they could invest in the infrastructure projects and development needed to attract a large biotech company, like Genzyme,” Spilka told them. “This has helped the economy of the region by boosting the growth of local businesses, creating jobs, and drawing the attention of other large businesses to the area.”

Today’s discussion of collaboration and international investment comes just one day after local and international leaders announced that a strategic alliance had been formed between the Commonwealth, Finland and Northern Ireland which focuses on tissue engineering research and development.

“This alliance is a direct result of our recent trade mission to Finland and this international partnership is a huge opportunity for our state’s economy and workforce to experience tremendous growth,” said Spilka. “Bringing together the work of our local institutions and international organizations will not only bring business and jobs to our state, we will be playing a key part in groundbreaking research and healthcare advancements around the world.”

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