Report Pushes Worcester As Biomanufacturing Hub

BY Rick Saia


A new report sponsored by biotechnology industry groups and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers says Worcester’s long manufacturing history and affordable cost of living help position the city as a manufacturing center for biopharmaceutical products, avoiding the need to send that work elsewhere.
The 64-page report recommends that the commonwealth and the industry form a public-private partnership and establish a commercial biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation zone in the city. It also suggests that Worcester collaborate on industry job growth with similar existing facilities at the University of Massachusetts campuses in Lowell and Dartmouth.
In addition, the study recommends the formation of a regional biopharmaceutical manufacturing board, led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Worcester-based Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), that would work with the Massachusetts Biomanufacturing Roundtable to ensure collaboration and growth.
The report said the manufacturing of biopharma products in the United States is losing ground, with almost 40 percent of finished drugs and about 80 percent of active ingredients obtained from overseas sources.
“This does not need to be the case,” the report said.
“Through a unique and flexible … public-private partnership, Worcester can fill the manufacturing innovation gap” in Massachusetts and help propel the state into the “next era of biomedical innovation,” the report noted.
The report also said the Worcester area has an “abundance” of appropriately skilled workers who can perform the work, as well as an affordable cost of living, availability of manufacturing buildings and “numerous high-quality educational institutions.”
The report echoes recent statements by business and civic leaders about the potential for advanced manufacturing, which includes biopharmaceuticals, in Greater Worcester. The report included statements by City Manager Michael O’Brien and MBI President and CEO Kevin O’Sullivan promoting the city’s economic advantages, its central location within New England and the presence in the region of companies such as AbbVie and Thermo Fisher, as well as WPI’s Biomanufacturing Training & Education Center.
“As a robust and vibrant community that is forging its own path,” O’Brien wrote, “Worcester is a … smart choice for investment.”
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