TARGET INDUSTRIES
From Massachusetts Economic Development Guide 2023-24
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Innovation Begins in The Bay State

by LINDSAY LOPP
M
Bayer Cambridge Building
Bayer Cambridge Building
Photo courtesy of MassIndustry

assachusetts has built itself into an epicenter of innovation. Known as a research and development hub, the Commonwealth has produced six leading industries that are at the frontier in their respective fields. Abundant in resources, square footage and exceptional talent, the companies in the Commonwealth have a leg up on the rest. Here is an overview of each sector:

Life Sciences  

Home to pioneers in biotech, pharma and healthcare, Massachusetts is known to be the world’s leading life sciences supercluster. With more than 35 million sq. ft. of commercial biopharma space and 700,000 liters of biomanufacturing capacity, the Bay State has long played a pivotal role in this industry. 

To further the economic development of this sector, the state awarded the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center $20 million for its 2021 Tax Incentive Program. From this program, 10,000 new employment opportunities were created. In the wake of this initiative’s success, $24.2 million in job creation incentives were awarded to 36 Massachusetts life sciences companies in 2022. With these funds, 1,500 new life science jobs are expected to arise throughout the state.

Target Industries-one

Moderna colleagues perform analysis using a PCR thermocycler.

Photo courtesy Moderna

Massachusetts boasts more than 1,200 life sciences companies. Industry giants such as Sanofi, Takeda, Pfizer, Biogen and many more have built large headquarters and workforces in the Bay State. In June of last year, Sanofi, a multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare company, announced the opening of its 900,000-sq.-ft. Cambridge Campus. A primary goal of this project was to boost collaboration by bringing Sanofi’s 2,500 Massachusetts-based employees together under one roof.

Within the same month, Takeda announced it signed a 15-year lease with BioMed Realty for approximately 600,000 sq. ft. of R&D and office space in Kendall Square. The new laboratories will feature upgraded technology to further support Takeda’s innovative efforts.

After expanding the company’s Norwood facility from 300,000 to 650,000 sq. ft., biotech vaccine maker Moderna, famously known for its variation of the COVID-19 vaccine, announced its goal to hire 2,000 new employees in 2023. With positions available at its Kendall Square and Norwood locations, the company is continuing to build its Massachusetts workforce, which already consists of 3,900 employees.

Financial Services 

Massachusetts has long been at the forefront of the financial services industry. As a sector that makes up 15% of the state’s economy, it is surprising to none that Boston is consistently ranked among the top 25 financial centers in the world. Throughout the state, this industry employees around 211,000 people. 

Target Industries-two

MassMutual’s new Boston lobby at its 10 Fan Pier Boulevard address

Photo courtesy MassMutual

Named one of the top places to work in Massachusetts for two consecutive years, MassMutual opened a 17-story office building in Boston in 2021. The new, state-of-the-art campus has enough capacity for 1,000 employees. The company’s Springfield location already boasts a workforce of 4,000. 

In 2022, Capital One also built a new Boston location. Once construction on the 78,000-sq.-ft. building was completed, Capital One announced plans to hire an additional 100-plus technologists.

As one of Massachusetts’ leading financial services employers, the State Street Corporation in Boston has significantly invested in the growth of the Commonwealth’s workforce. In 2015 the corporation set forth a four-year, $20 million workforce development initiative designed to expand the workforce training, education and economic mobility opportunities available for Boston’s youth. Each year the initiative was active, the State Street Foundation’s Boston Workforce Investment Network awarded $1 million to nonprofits that work to improve college graduation and employment rates. 

Furthering the opportunities for expansion and employment, fintech startups are rapidly growing within Massachusetts, as 350 already reside within the state. With the addition of these new-age companies, the state continues to be at the forefront of financial and technological innovation. Organizations such as Mass Fintech Hub, an initiative under the Fintech Sandbox, are vital contributors to cultivating this industry’s growth. 

Through Mass Fintech Hub’s strategic partnerships, companies can access a diverse network of investors, R&D facilities, workforce resources, and university and industry connections. Given this unique access, companies such as Insurify, Monit and Flywire are making headway.

Target Industries-three

General Dynamics Virginia Class Submarine 

Photo courtesy of General Dynamics

Aerospace, Defense and Robotics

Each year, companies in Massachusetts make significant contributions in aerospace, defense and robotics. The state has seven military bases, 345 robotics companies and several defense industry leaders, including Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, GE Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. Furthering the Commonwealth’s stance in this sector, Massachusetts was among three states to see the largest increase in defense contracting from 2020 to 2021, with its allotted amount rising from $15.7 billion to $21.3 billion. 

Announced in August 2022, Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Hyundai Motor Group last year, plans to build a $424 million AI robotics research center in Cambridge. This space is set to feature labs centered around four core technical areas: cognitive AI, athletic AI, organic hardware design, ethics and policy. Boston Dynamics also intends to recruit talent in areas such as AI, robotics, computing, machine learning and engineering for this new facility. 

In July 2022, General Dynamics Mission Systems was awarded a $272.9 Million U.S. Navy contract.During the six-year duration of the contract, most of the work for this project will take place in the company’s Pittsfield location.

A month prior, in July 2022, General Dynamics Mission Systems was awarded a $272.9 Million U.S. Navy contract to support the development, production and installations for U.S. and U.K. submarine strategic weapons systems and subsystems, including fire control for ballistic missile submarines. During the six-year duration of the contract, most of the work for this project will take place in the company’s Pittsfield location. 

Righthand Robotics, a leader in order fulfillment robotic picking solutions, secured $66 million in a Series C financing from top growth investors in February 2022. Known for the company’s Righthand Robotics RightPick™ technology, which is a platform that streamlines the supply chain processes of warehouses by leveraging AI software with intelligent grippers and machine vision, this funding will be used to accelerate product and business development. 

Advanced Manufacturing 

From everyday essentials to electronics and machinery, Massachusetts is home to an assortment of in-demand advanced manufacturers. Across the state, big industry names create and distribute mass amounts of products, including MKS Instruments, Yankee Candle, New Balance and Gillette. As a core asset to the state’s economy, advanced manufacturing employs 250,000 people and accounts for $60 billion in total manufacturing output.  

As a core asset to the state’s economy, advanced manufacturing employs 250,000 people and accounts for $60 billion in total manufacturing output.

As demand for product continues to rise, many Massachusetts companies are investing in enhancing and enlarging their industrial spaces. To become carbon neutral by 2050, Saint Gobain invested $22.3 million into new power generation equipment. Last October, the building material manufacturer announced that this upgrade is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the Worcester campus by 50%.

Boston Materials, a manufacturer of Z-axis Carbon Fiber products, is revolutionizing the lightweight materials market. In August 2022, the company opened a new headquarters in Billerica, outside of Lowell. The 40,000-sq.-ft. facility will allow the company to scale production and triple its current workforce of 30.  

Target Industries-four

An employee at the New Balance factory in Methuen measures pieces of a shoe.

Photo courtesy Office of Governor Maura Healey

“Massachusetts remains a leader in innovation, and as the electric mobility industry grows, this new advanced manufacturing facility in the Gateway City of Methuen will play an important role delivering the solid-state batteries that will power our transition to clean energy while creating jobs here in the Commonwealth.” 

— Mike Kennealy, former Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary, on Factorial Energy’s pilot production facility

In recent news, Factorial Energy, an industry leader in developing solid-state batteries, is establishing its pilot production facility in the city of Methuen. This location is set to manufacture automotive-sized solid state batteries at preproduction speed and volume. 

“Massachusetts remains a leader in innovation, and as the electric mobility industry grows, this new advanced manufacturing facility in the Gateway City of Methuen will play an important role delivering the solid-state batteries that will power our transition to clean energy while creating jobs here in the Commonwealth,” said former Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.

Factorial has invested $45 million in renovating the 67,000-sq.-ft. facility, with additional plans to hire 166 employees. Operations are expected to begin in early 2023.

Clean, Green and Blue Technologies 

Massachusetts understands the importance of combatting climate change. Statewide, government officials and industry experts are working to develop sustainable solutions, so much so that in 2022, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy named Massachusetts the second most energy-efficient state. 

Massachusetts understands the importance of combatting climate change. In 2022, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy named Massachusetts the second most energy-efficient state.

During the last decade, offshore wind development has been an important project in the Bay State. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has been instrumental in these efforts, mainly due to the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC). Since its construction in 2011, this site remains North America’s largest wind blade testing facility. Located in Charlestown, the WTTC aids in prototype development and performs testing on turbine blade sections up to 90 meters in length. The WTTC offers 35 distinct blade-testing programs with hundreds of individual assessments to ensure a blade’s efficiency and reliability. For a blade to meet international design standards, blade testing is required. 

MassCEC has continued these efforts in New Bedford with the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal (NBMCT). The NBMCT is the first U.S. port facility dedicated to constructing, assembling and deploying offshore wind projects. In December 2022, the NBMCT received $45 million in funding to improve and expand different sectors of the 29-acre facility. 

Target Industries-five

Wind turbine testing at the Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown

Photo courtesy Massachusetts Clean Energy Center

“There are, I believe, three projects geared up to deploy from the beginning this fall. Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind are two early examples,” said Derek Santos, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. “And these are international projects coming to New Bedford and establishing an industry in our community. That means investments and jobs, and it means the production of sustainable and clean power, which in itself is a win.”

Since 2010, the clean energy industry has grown 73% in Massachusetts and employs over 104,000 people.

Target Industries-six

Governor Maura Healey tours the Analog Devices facilities in Wilmington.

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Maura Healey

Information Technology

In the Commonwealth, there are more than 2,000 software publishing employers, 140 cybersecurity companies, and four NSA Centers of Academic Excellence. Known as the No. 1 state for Science and Technology, Massachusetts hosts an extensive network of industry leaders, including Dell, Akamai Technologies, Kronos Incorporated and MathWorks.

“These are international projects coming to New Bedford and establishing an industry in our community. That means investments and jobs, and it means the production of sustainable and clean power, which in itself is a win.”

– Derek Santos, Executive Director, New Bedford Economic Development Council

Home to MIT and over 30 cybersecurity degree programs, Massachusetts offers an endless pool of exceptional talent. 

In 2021, Analog Devices, a semiconductor company specializing in data conversion, signal processing, and power management technology, completed the expansion its new global headquarters in Wilmington. The company’s state-of-the-art facilities include 1.4 MW of solar panels, cutting-edge laboratories, cross-functional group collaborative space and a 50,000-sq.-ft. hub featuring a café, fitness center and auditorium. This expansion project resulted in 1.375 million additional sq. ft. of facility space, and around 975 new jobs. 

In 2018, MathWorks, a leading developer of mathematical computing software, opened its second location in Natick, its Lakeside Campus. The 512,000-sq.-ft. office building houses 1,000 employees, while its Apple Hill Headquarters consists of 1,900. 

As of August 2022, MathWorks has acquired a five-story, 107,300-sq.-ft. building for $17.59 million that is also in Natick. Furthering the company’s contributions to the state’s economy, in January 2023 MathWorks and UMass Boston launched the MathWorks Scholars Program. Supported by a $1 million grant from MathWorks, the career readiness initiative focuses on boosting diversity in the tech industry while offering participants opportunities for scholarships, academic support and paid internships. 




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