Opinion

OPINION

A Winning Game Plan for Life Sciences

A championship team is built by investing in a nucleus of talented people and focusing that talent on achieving a common goal. This approach has been the foundation of the success of the New England Patriots.

We believe it is also the formula necessary to sustain Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences.

A vision, a game plan, and prudent investment are necessary elements in assuring that the Commonwealth maintains its competitive edge in the life sciences. This is the reason that we support Gov. Deval Patrick’s Life Sciences Initiative.

We have all the fundamentals in this region to elevate our position in the international life sciences community. We are home to the world’s best medical and research facilities and the best and brightest scientists, technicians, and medical practitioners. Many of the world’s leading biopharma and medical-device companies are based here. We have consistently led the nation in per-capita NIH funding, biomedical venture capital investments, and life science PhDs. This success also makes us a target — a target for every other state and international competitor for life-sciences business and talent.

When the Patriots were at risk of leaving for St. Louis in the early 1990s, we made a significant but calculated investment to purchase the team and keep it in New England. Patrick has now stepped forward to do the same with our life-sciences supercluster. It comes at a critical time.

California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Singapore, and others are aggressively investing billions of dollars to attract our top scientists and companies through lucrative grants, tax credits, and facilities. We remember how the high-tech industry all but disappeared in this region a couple of decades ago and the dramatic impact it had in terms of lost jobs and tax revenues. We cannot afford to let that happen with life sciences.

Life-sciences research and industry have a major economic impact on the region. It is growing significantly faster than other sectors, providing millions in tax revenues and thousands of high-paying jobs. These jobs expand beyond research science and PhDs. The Kraft Group’s core businesses are in paper and packaging manufacturing and distribution. These industries and many others, like information technology, software, advanced materials, and construction, benefit significantly from the growth of life sciences companies and facilities.

A recent study by the Milken Institute underscores this ripple effect, concluding that for every direct job in life sciences, 3.6 indirect jobs are created. Combine this economic activity with the fact that Patrick’s initiative also calls for life-sciences workforce and training programs, and we have a game plan that assures the best chance of success.

Massachusetts is at the cutting edge of developing cures and therapies that save millions of lives throughout the world. Over the years we have been major supporters of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other institutions, and we have seen first-hand how the science developed has helped in the treatment of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Whether it is addressing serious injuries from sports or aiding the recovery of children from cancer through breakthrough technologies, we are indebted to this research and cannot risk a loss of it to other regions of the nation or the world.

A few years ago, we invested our resources in keeping the Patriots in Massachusetts. It is an investment that we believe will continue to benefit the New England community for generations to come.

Now we must keep life sciences here, and we support the leadership and wise commitment of our friends in the Legislature, the business community, and the governor to maintain our excellence in scientific and medical research and industry and to maintain and grow our significant lead in the life sciences.

Robert Kraft is chairman and chief executive of the Kraft Group. Jonathan Kraft is president and chief operating officer of the Kraft Group. This article first appeared in the Boston Globe.

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