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Regional Review: New England States Are Well Positioned for Economic Growth

New England touts a long history of tradition, independence, strong character, and academics. The slow but evident economic recovery of the New England States reflects the persistent determination of its citizens and their resilience in the face of adversity.

August 2012
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Focus on Biosciences
In Connecticut, targeted industries include insurance and financial services, aerospace, biotechnology and biomedical research, medical devices, green and sustainable technology, digital media and entertainment, hospitality and tourism, and information technology. The Bioscience Connecticut initiative was designed to expand and improve Connecticut's research and development capacity.

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine has been launched on the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center. The collaborative effort between Jackson Laboratory, the state of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut, and Yale University aims to accelerate the development of new medical treatments tailored to people's unique genetic makeup. "The State of Connecticut made a huge commitment to the Bioscience Connecticut effort at a time when most states are cutting their R&D funding," says Mike Hyde, vice president for external affairs for The Jackson Laboratory.

Biopharmaceutical company Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will establish its global headquarters in New Haven by 2015, relocating its existing Connecticut work force of more than 350 employees to the facility and creating an expected 200 to 300 new jobs by 2017. Other bioscience facilities in Connecticut include Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford, Boehringer Ingelheim's U.S.A. headquarters in Ridgefield, and Pfizer's global R&D headquarters in the New London area.

Massachusetts is also strengthening its biosciences sector, with Governor Deval Patrick's 10-year, $1 billion life sciences investment that spurs research, investment, innovation, and commercialization. The life sciences industry in Massachusetts has experienced more than 52 percent job growth in the biopharma sector since 2001. In June, the Governor and seven global biopharmaceutical companies (Abbott, Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Janssen R&D, Merck, Pfizer, and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.) announced the formation of the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium to fund pre-clinical neuroscience at Massachusetts academic and research institutions.

Moving a Highway

Scott Gibbs, president at The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, notes that while the state continues to struggle, there is more positive news, including CVS' recently completed 300,000-square-foot finance and administration building in Woonsocket. Fidelity Investments in Smithfield also plans to add additional employees.

In Providence, Colin Kane, chairman of the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, says, "The I-195 Redevelopment Commission is the `super-permitting' entity, as well as the ownership entity, and looks forward to bringing pad-ready sites to the global market in the very near term." He continues, "The 22 developable, downtown Providence acres created by the relocation of Interstate 195 present an incredible opportunity for three million square feet of new buildings and public spaces. The original city streets and utility infrastructure will be reconnected starting in fall 2012 with the investment of over $40 million by RIDOT and the regional utility providers." The area is anchored by Brown University's Medical School and Johnson & Wales University campus.

Jody Sullivan, executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, says that defense and hospitality remain healthy in her area. "In the most recent Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2005, our Naval Station Newport actually gained tenants/schools and now has over 50 commands here in Newport, the largest of which is the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which employs approximately 3,000 people and houses the Naval War College. In total, the Naval Station Newport provides almost 8,000 jobs."
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