Boston Globe Online: Mass. Officials unveil life sciences partnership

Boston Globe Online: Mass. Officials unveil life sciences partnership

June 2011

WASHINGTON — Massachusetts officials this morning unveiled new life sciences partnership deals with Israel, Northern Ireland, and Finland at the Biotechnology Industry Organization annual convention here, seeking to spotlight the state’s deepening ties with other countries eager to tap into research at colleges and universities from Cambridge to Worcester.

Governor Deval Patrick, who led a trade mission to Israel and Great Britain earlier this year, today joined with Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist to unveil a formal alliance, to be called the Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership, that will launch several research collaborations between Massachusetts and Israeli companies.

Under the agreement, three participating state agencies — the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center — will be committing nearly $1 million to projects with an Israeli partner that has yet to be chosen. Israel will provide up to $1 million in matching funds for the projects. Massachusetts is the first US state to enter into such an agreement with Israel, which has large life sciences and technology sectors.

Patrick said discussions that led to today’s initiative began during his 10-day trade mission in March. The governor also said Massachusetts has hired Hadas Bar-Or as a new trade representative to Israel in an effort to further expand business relations.

In a second agreement signed this morning, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray appeared with representatives of the Northern Ireland and Finland governments to disclose a strategic alliance that will join the tissue engineering research efforts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, three research universities in Finland, and two universities in Northern Ireland.

The deal grew out of a trade mission to Finland in April by the Northern Ireland Massachusetts Connection, an informal working group that Murray helped to establish. Finland later joined the group. No specific funding commitment was announced this morning.