BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Today, on the fourth anniversary of Governor Deval Patrick signing his ten-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Governor today broke ground on Joslin’s new Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes. In January, Joslin received a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, made possible through the Governor’s life sciences initiative, and among the highest amounts ever allocated to support diabetes research in Massachusetts. The grant was matched with funds raised by Joslin donors, for a total of $10.8 million to build the center.

“When we stood here at Joslin in 2008 and launched the Life Sciences Initiative, this is exactly the type of investment in our future we envisioned, to secure and expand the Commonwealth’s leadership in health care, innovation and job growth,” said Governor Patrick. “Joslin Diabetes Center does life-saving work, and we are proud to be able to help advance it.”

The groundbreaking served as another event in a series of Massachusetts life sciences growth announcements taking place in the days prior to the BIO International Convention, which opens June 18 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. In the past week, Governor Patrick has celebrated the grand opening of a Navidea Pharmaceuticals facility in Andover and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s new Center for Excellence in Tewksbury. The Governor also announced this week that Xenetic, a United Kingdom based drug development company, will open a drug development office in Boston, and Batavia Bioservices will open a U.S. facility in Woburn.

“This is an exciting day for us at Joslin. Our life’s work is to find a cure for diabetes; as this pandemic accelerates we need to prevent it and find innovative ways to care for those who are impacted by it,” said John Brooks, President and CEO of Joslin Diabetes Center. “This grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and the required matching funds from Joslin donors, will enable us to accelerate our clinical and research efforts, develop translational studies for curing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and will advance our work in diabetes prevention and obesity.”

The project, located at Joslin’s Longwood campus and slated for completion in 2015, will renovate nearly 20,000 square feet of space and is projected to create approximately 50 construction jobs, and 50 new permanent jobs in the life sciences. More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, a number that is increasing by one million per year. In Massachusetts, more than 400,000 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and these numbers are increasing at epidemic rates (61 percent in the last 12 years). The cost of diabetes in the Commonwealth is $4.3 billion annually.

“This new center will make important advances in treating and preventing a devastating disease that affects so many families in Massachusetts and across the Globe,” said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister. “This investment will also create jobs, which is an important part of the Life Sciences Center’s mission. One of our goals at the Center is to invest in unique resources that will strengthen our state’s global leadership in the life sciences. This new center will cement our leadership for years to come as an innovator in diabetes research.”

The Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes encompasses 16 unique, yet interrelated, sub-projects that bridge clinical research, clinical care and basic research with translational programs to ensure that Joslin continues to advance it’s “clinic to research to clinic” solutions. This cross-pollination of clinical and research disciplines is critical because the cure for diabetes is a vexing goal due to the complexity of the disease, as it has different forms and complications that affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves and the cardiovascular system.

Joslin expects the Translational Center to foster new research approaches whereby basic, translational and clinical researchers work side-by-side and collaborate with Joslin’s clinical team in an interactive and supportive environment, enabling exciting new ideas to flourish, and where the latest innovative technologies and new biomedical discoveries are advanced so that they can be translated quickly into solutions that help patients and others with or at risk of diabetes.

The BIO International Convention will provide Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, state and industry leaders with an opportunity to showcase Massachusetts as a global leader in the life sciences industry, and the preeminent place for life sciences companies to invest in and expand.

The ten-year, $1 billion life sciences investment package Governor Patrick signed in 2008 has strengthened the state’s global leadership in the life sciences. The initiative melds all of the state’s key resources in order to spur research, investment, innovation and commercialization. Now, the life sciences industry in Massachusetts is thriving, with more than 52 percent job growth in the biopharma sector since 2001 and more than 80,000 employees working in the life sciences.