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Harvard, MIT, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, GE Plan Collaborative Biotech Center

Harvard University
Harvard University's Widener Library

A consortium of leaders from Boston’s biggest research institutions are joining forces on advancing biological manufacturing and innovation. 

Executives from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences and Alexandria Real Estate Equities will serve as the board of directors of a planned $50M center of advanced biological innovation and manufacturing, the group announced Monday.

The center will explore and cultivate innovations in cell and gene therapy, advance biological innovation and manufacturing and accelerate developments in immunotherapy, cell therapies, gene editing and other human health technologies. 

Leaders from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, MilliporeSigma and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will serve as contributing members to the center. 

“This powerful collaboration embodies the deep and broad world-class expertise in multiple disciplines that exists across this region,” Harvard President Larry Bacow said in a statement. “We are privileged to be part of this collaborative initiative. It will advance scientific discovery, reaffirm the region’s global leadership in the life sciences and bring forward life-saving and life-changing therapies that will make a difference for people around the world.”

The nonprofit facility does not yet have a home, but it is expected to have a modular design that will adapt quickly to technological changes. While the consortium announcement references how the deal may seem like a shared lab space, the group says the center would be unique due to its plan to produce both cell and viral vector products within a single physical space, its cross-industry partnerships and heightened sense of collaboration. 

“We are very proud to be part of this unparalleled consortium to create an innovative and collaborative center involving advanced technologies as well as next-generation manufacturing,” Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Alexandria Venture Investments founder and Executive Chairman Joel Marcus said in a statement. “The highly respected partner institutions have the scientific talent and the engineering capabilities to deliver truly novel therapies to patients suffering today from serious and life-threatening diseases and also to design the next-generation processes that will accelerate the translation of tomorrow’s cost-effective, lifesaving medicines from bench to bedside.”