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Mass. Life Sciences Industry Would Take Hard Hit from Sequester


According to analysis from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, federal budget cuts to research funding including grants from the National Institutes of Health could mean a loss of $127 million in Massachusetts. New York coulld lose $104 million.

Jennifer Zeitzer, Director of Legislative Affairs for FASEB, said that for the Bay State, the cuts could slow a fast growing life sciences industry.

FASEB estimates that all recipient institutions may have to cut their budgets by 5.1%

Allan Dittrich is President of the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research, a non-profit member organization that includes research hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, biomedical research companies, and universities. Dittrich said the sequester will immediately affect the universities conducting basic research.

Pat Muraca is CEO of Nuclea Biotechnologies – a private company based in Pittsfield that develops diagnostic  assays for metabolic disease. Muraca said that the cuts to public agencies can produce a sort of shift in the medical research world by opening up new contracts that to private companies that would otherwise go to a university supported by public funds, but there is a catch….

And Robert Coughlin, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, said that the NIH cuts may cause a loss in jobs in the short term, but over the next 10 years, the cuts will put a significant damper on the future of the life science industry.

Coughlin said he’s been working with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, which is working to prevent the cuts. He just hopes the rest of Congress will take notice.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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