Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and international partners announce grants through international partnership program

March 10, 2014

For Immediate Release:

Announcing Awards of inaugural round of ICIP, Turin, Italy - The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and four international partner agencies announced at the 2014 BIO-Europe Spring Convention today the first round of grants through the MLSC's International Collaborative Industry Program (ICIP)

The Creation of ICIP stemmed from international demand to partner with Massachusetts life sciences companies in jointly advancing R&D efforts for new products and processes intended for commercialization. The MLSC announced last year that the first year partners would be Victoria, Australia (Department of State Development Business and Innovation (DSDBI)); the Wallonia region of Belgium (BioWin); Quebec, Canada (CQDM); and Alsace in France (Alsace BioValley). Today the MLSC and partner regions announced four projects that demonstrated innovative and collaborative R&D and will be receiving grant awards.

Eligible projects for ICIP consisted of one company in Massachusetts partnered with a company from one of the four international partner regions. Awarded partners will receive funding from an agency in their own geography. The program enabled company partners from biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and bioinformatics to submit project applications.

Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences ecosystem. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008.

“We look to build partnerships with other leading life sciences clusters around the world,” said Governor Patrick. “Through this first round of grants and the expansion of this model for collaboration, we are setting Massachusetts up as a good partner for growth.”

The four projects jointly selected to receive funding from the first round of the ICIP program are as follows:

inviCRO LLC (Located in Boston, MA) in partnership with Biospective in Quebec, Canada
MLSC Grant: $249,750

The proposed collaboration will use new instrumentation and multi-modality image analyses to characterize the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in a novel and an established mouse model to determine response to drug treatment. A suite of “imaging phenotypes” for PD will be developed and evaluated with the goal of providing services to pharmaceutical companies

Covaris Inc. (Located in Woburn, MA) in partnership with Coris BioConcept in Wallonia, Belgium
MLSC Grant: $160,000

The proposed collaboration will develop dry ultrasonic preparation methods in parallel with rapid DNA based analysis of blood samples, initially from sepsis patients. The goal of developing new diagnostic approaches for sepsis could have significant impact on this serious infection affecting millions of patients.

New England Biolabs (Located in Ipswich, MA) in partnership with Transgene in Alsace, France
MLSC Grant: $250,000

This collaboration is focused on the development of an innovative approach to improve digestion of DNA impurities in the manufacturing of viral vectors. Transgene is developing a new production platform for viral vectors and NEB will bring to the project its know-how in epigenetics and enzymology.

EMD Millipore Corporation (Located in Billerica, MA) in partnership with Promethera BioSciences in Wallonia, Belgium
MLSC Grant: $400,000

In this collaboration, the team will utilize liver derived human stem cells to populate a microfluidic device with the goal of producing a product with a ‘human liver like’ phenotype. Ultimately the team hopes to enable predictive toxicity testing of drugs early during their development at pharmaceutical companies leading to improved safety and more cost effective drug development.

In all cases funding from the MLSC will be supplemented by funding from the partner agencies, and the companies involved with each collaboration.

“In Massachusetts we believe that the life sciences breakthroughs of tomorrow will be grounded in new models of international collaboration,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “The collaborative projects that we are announcing today are important steps toward the fulfillment of that goal, with joint funding to promote the commercialization of new health technologies, and job creation in both Massachusetts and our partner regions."

“These new technological and commercial synergies between Walloon companies active in the health sector and key-partners from Massachusetts prove once again the strategic importance of making partnerships between regions having major expertise in health biotechnology and medical technologies,” said Jean Stéphenne, President of BioWin.

“We are delighted that Transgene, a company member of Alsace BioValley, has been awarded amongst the projects reviewed from the MLSC international program,” said Didier Frommweiler, Alsace BioValley’s CEO. “This success confirms the excellence of Alsatian Health companies on the international level, excellence already identified in 2013 by MLSC who decided, after analysing the strengths of various international regions, to partner with only 4 of them in the world, including Alsace as the only region in France. This result rewards our efforts in convincing, together with the development agency Alsace International, a famous organization such as MLSC about the capabilities offered by Alsatian companies in the field of therapeutic innovation."

“CQDM is very pleased with this collaboration with MLSC which allows us to develop fruitful scientific collaborations with researchers in the Massachusetts region,” said Diane Gosselin, Ph.D., President and CEO of CQDM. “The inviCRO-Biospective project also brings a lot of value to the pharmaceutical industry in advancing next-generation technologies to accelerate drug discovery and bring better cures to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a complex and not well understood disease.”

In announcing the extension of the partnership with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the second round of their Building Global Bridges initiative, Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said, “The Victoria Government and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center partnership will strengthen linkages and create many more successful and beneficial partnerships for both Victoria and Massachusetts."

Announcing ICIP 2014, Turin, Italy – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) together with geographies that include Alsace, Quebec, Victoria and Wallonia, also announced the second year of ICIP, including the expansion of the program’s geographic reach to include two new regions: Israel and Medicon Valley. More information about the second year of the program, including how to apply, is available on the MLSC website at www.masslifesciences.com.

“We are excited to welcome Israel and Medicon Valley to the second year of the ICIP Program,” said Windham- Bannister. “No one country or region can address on its own the urgent health challenges that still face our global community, and we are pleased to be partnering with two more of the world’s leaders in life sciences innovation.”

"The Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel (OCS) and MATIMOP are pleased to be partnering once again with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) for the second round of the International Collaborative Industry Program,” said Michel Hivert, Managing Director of MATIMOP. “Israel and Massachusetts have a proven track record of successful R&D collaborations. The Massachusetts Israel Innovation Partnership (MIIP) framework promotes new research advances in life sciences, clean energy and information technology. Israel is honored to strengthen a valued partnership that will no doubt spur new health-related innovations, stimulate R&D, and foster cutting edge breakthroughs."

“We are very pleased that our region will be involved in this great opportunity allowing Danish and Swedish projects the opportunity to collaborate with Boston based companies,” said Mai-Britt Zocca from Copenhagen Bio Science Park. “Massachusetts is highly regarded as one of the strongest life science clusters in the world and by supporting joint partnerships amongst companies in Medicon Valley and Boston we are paving the way for the next generation of breakthrough technologies.”

For more information about ICIP, visit www.masslifesciences.com/icip.html or email icip@masslifesciences.com.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

About the International Collaborative Industry Program (ICIP)
The MLSC’s International Collaborative Industry Program (ICIP) seeks to promote collaboration and idea exchange between life sciences companies around the world, as well as to stimulate the development of new products or processes intended for commercialization. ICIP accepts project proposals rooted in the life sciences: Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and bioinformatics. Projects sponsored together by a Massachusetts life sciences company and a company from one of the participating international partner regions are eligible to apply for joint funding from the MLSC and the respective international partner agency.

About the Department of State Development Business and Innovation (DSDBI), State Government of Victoria, Australia
The Department of Business and Innovation helps grow Victoria’s diverse and vibrant economy by supporting pro-business policies and programs and the development of innovative industries. This includes focusing on science policy, including biotechnology and medical research, and the implementation of related life sciences programs. For more information, visit  www.biotechnology.vic.gov.au or www.business.vic.gov.au/bgb.

About BioWin
BioWin is the Health Cluster of Wallonia, bringing together more than 500 members (including 120 innovative companies) involved in innovative scientific and industrial initiatives in the field of biotechnology, health and medical technology. The cluster focuses on 4 strategic areas: nurturing innovation, developing the skills needed for businesses in this field to succeed, raising the international profile of the cluster and businesses in this sector, and creating technological platforms. For more information, visit our website www.biowin.org and our blog http://win-health.org

About CQDM
CQDM is a pharma-based consortium active in pre-competitive research whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate drug discovery. Unique in the world, CQDM’s business model is based on a collaborative approach where all stakeholders share the costs of research and benefit from its results. CQDM also provides a crossroads where academia, governments, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries converge to address numerous complex medical challenges. CQDM receives financial support from Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada, Novartis Pharma Canada, as well as from Quebec’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MESRST) and under the Federal government’s Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence program (BL-NCE). For more information, visit www.cqdm.org.

About Alsace BioValley
As a French world-class cluster dedicated to therapeutic innovations, Alsace BioValley is the one-stop contact for optimizing any R&D development or business project in Europe. Located in the Alsace region, part of the famous French-German-Swiss BioValley and home to a unique concentration of international life sciences and healthcare players, Alsace BioValley will help any life sciences and healthcare companies interested in new projects and partnerships in Europe to search for outstanding scientific or industrial partners, to develop very innovative R&D projects, to find the best innovative technology -- patent or scientific expertise, or to set up and locate in the Alsace region. For more information visit www.alsace-biovalley.com or www.biovalley.com.

About MATIMOP
MATIMOP, the executive agency of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), of the Ministry of Economy of Israel is the official National Agency for industrial R&D cooperation in Israel, charged with promoting highly supportive policies to build Israel's industrial infrastructure, and nurturing industrial innovation and entrepreneurship. MATIMOP is the government agency that generates and implements international cooperative industrial R&D programs between Israeli and foreign enterprises. In recognition of its distance from global markets, the State of Israel enters into international agreements and has charged MATIMOP to aggressively expand opportunities for Israel’s industry to engage in mutually beneficial international collaboration. The development of innovative new commercial technologies, products and services is a high risk expensive proposition, often exceeding the capacity and capabilities of individual firms and even countries, therefore necessitating the OCS’s intervention and support. For additional information please visit: http://www.matimop.org.il/

About Medicon Valley
Medicon Valley is a hub of life science activities which spans three regions in Eastern Denmark and South-Western Sweden. The Capital Region of Denmark is a public authority headed by democratically elected politicians that manages hospitals, performs research and services for the disabled and undertakes environmental duties, and collaborates with municipalities and the business community on developments concerning traffic, business and education. Skåne Regional Council is the self-governing authority of Skåne, the southernmost county of Sweden. Region Skåne’s competences include health and medical services, regional growth and development, public transport, culture and cross-border and interregional cooperation. And Region Zealand safeguards tasks, services and interests for a total of 820,000 citizens and plays a central role in a network of cooperating partners, who work for a dynamic and coordinated development throughout the region, i.e. for business, education, urban development, public transport and certain environmental areas. Together they form one of the strongest life science clusters in the world.

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