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November 2, 2005


Agreement will generate jobs, funding and new R&D opportunities for Massachusetts


Governor Mitt Romney today signed a partnership agreement with Italian officials to facilitate joint research projects and funding for Massachusetts biotechnology firms that want to do business overseas.


Massachusetts is the first state to sign this type of agreement with the Lombardia region of Italy. About 50 percent of all biotech firms in Italy are in the Lombardia region, making it that country’s biotech center.


“Massachusetts is at the leading edge of innovative biotech research and medical breakthroughs,” said Romney. “Today’s agreement gives our biotech firms and hospitals access to new research funding and business opportunities that will create more jobs.”


The agreement will foster R&D collaboration between the United States and Italy, establish joint research centers and create technology transfer centers to commercialize new research, with an early emphasis on hematology and diabetes research. Massachusetts will gain access to EU funding for research and, by tying the state’s companies and universities to counterparts in Lombardia, will also gain new clinical trial opportunities in Europe.


“Companies and research hospitals in Lombardia are working on new ways to treat various diseases, particularly diabetes,” said Lombardia Region President Roberto Formigoni. “Today’s agreement increases the research capabilities of our companies and hospitals to develop new solutions.”


Lombardia was attracted to Massachusetts in part because of the state’s commitment to increasing the commercial opportunities resulting from R&D. The Governor created the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center in 2003, which has focused on the needs of the biotech and life sciences sector.


“Today’s agreement means ZymeQuest can accelerate the launch of clinical trials in Europe that are needed to secure regulatory approvals required to sell our products there,” said Douglas Clibourn, President and CEO of Beverly-based ZymeQuest, which makes blood product technologies and has worked closely with Dr. Thomas Stossel of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital. “As a result, we will be able to sell products faster and expand our employee base in Massachusetts. congratulate the Governor on making this deal happen.”


“Massachusetts biotech firms will be able to do more research and create more jobs as a result of today’s partnership,” said Thomas M. Finneran, president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. “With this visionary agreement, Massachusetts is better positioned to secure future business partnerships with other nations.”


“Our center has done groundbreaking work in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, including the development of treatments that are used worldwide,” said David Nathan M.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center. “Today’s agreement creates a new diabetes treatment research opportunity and will have a direct and important impact on drug discovery and therapeutic advances.”


Future initiatives with Lombardia are expected to encourage new collaborations with the Commonwealth’s academic and medical institutions, increase access to venture capital funding and spur the creation of new biotechnology facilities in Massachusetts and Italy.


Companies that are interested in learning more about this agreement can contact the Massachusetts Business Resource Team at 1-877-BIZTEAM or www.mass.gov/bizteam.


“Reilly, Romney Spar Over Immigrant Tuition Bill”

Evan Lehmann, AP, Lowell Sun


“A bill to let children of illegal immigrants pay the same lower tuition rate at state colleges as other Massachusetts residents sparked a political sparring match yesterday between Attorney General Thomas Reilly and the Romney administration.”


“Reilly held a mid-day news conference at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to pass the legislation. He called Gov. Mitt Romney "out of touch" for opposing the legislation. Romney vetoed a similar bill last year.”


“Romney quickly called reporters into his Statehouse office to chastise Reilly for advocating a bill he said would encourage illegal behavior.”


“Romney said the state's focus should be on helping legal immigrants. ‘Giving children of illegal immigrants a tuition break would act as an incentive to draw in more illegal immigrants to Massachusetts,’ Romney said.


“’I believe the attorney general has taken leave of the law,’ Romney said. ‘The law has to be enforced by the chief law enforcement officer of the state.’"

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