Massachusetts Legislature Takes Step Closer to Passing $1B Life Sciences Bill
Leaders of the Massachusetts House of Representatives predict they are weeks away from approving $1 billion in subsidies over 10 years to the state’s life sciences sector, following their introduction last week of a revised version of the measure introduced over the summer by Gov. Deval Patrick, GenomeWeb Daily News, RNAi News’ sister publication, reported this week.
The revised bill — officially entitled “An Act Providing for the Investment in and Expansion of the Life Sciences Industry in the Commonwealth” — retains the proportions of spending envisioned by Patrick: $500 million in bonds for capital investments such as facilities and life sciences equipment; $250 million on fellowships, research grants, and workforce training programs; and $250 million on tax credits targeted to life sciences companies that fulfill job-creation promises.
The bill also called for the creation of an RNAi Therapeutics Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester to “highlight and build on the work” of Nobel Prize-winning RNAi pioneer Craig Mello (see RNAi News, 8/9/2007).
But House leaders left their stamp on Patrick’s bill by earmarking parts of the bill’s money for a host of projects designed to benefit many of the state’s largest life sciences employers, as well as the set of projects Patrick intended to fund at the state-funded University of Massachusetts. UMass will receive more than $200 million, or one-fifth of the bill’s total proceeds, according to GenomeWeb Daily News.
The bill is scheduled to be sent to the House Ways and Means Committee, typically the last stop for legislation headed to the floor of the House, where a debate on the bill will likely take place in the next couple of weeks.
Whenever it begins, the debate is expected to produce a House vote in favor, followed by action in the Senate, GenomeWeb Daily News reported.
SEC Approves RXi Stock Distribution Plan
CytRx announced last week that a registration statement filed by its RNAi drugs spinout RXi Pharmaceuticals has been declared effective by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
As reported by RNAi News, the statement relates those RXi shares that will be distributed to CytRx shareholders and employees as part of its separation from CytRx into an independent, publicly traded company (see RNAi News, 11/1/2007).
According to CytRx, its stockholders will receive about 36 percent of RXi’s currently outstanding shares. Upon completion of the stock distribution, which is scheduled for March 6, CytRx will own about 49 percent of RXi.