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During an official economic mission from the Netherlands to Boston led by Prime Minister Rutte, representatives from public investment agencies, the biotech industry and other organizations convened to discuss a broad-based partnership to advance ongoing collaboration in life sciences between the Netherlands and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy signed a Memorandum of Understanding laying the basis for a Massachusetts – the Netherlands Transatlantic Life Sciences Partnership.

Massachusetts and the Netherlands kickoff international partnership in life sciences

The signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a testimony to the strategic importance of life sciences as well as a mutual recognition of Massachusetts and the Netherlands as two international biotech hubs. Indeed, Massachusetts counts nearly 70,000 people working in life sciences, with Boston-Cambridge alone boasting more than 500 biotech companies, 5 of the top 6 hospitals in the U.S., and 48 colleges. The Netherlands is a younger yet rapidly growing biotechnology hub at the heart of the EU, with more than 420 biopharmaceutical companies, 12 research universities, 85 hospitals, around 200 publicprivate partnerships and is the home to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The Netherlands is also one of the most concentrated life sciences and health clusters worldwide, featuring 2,900 companies within a 200km radius. In addition to the signatories, Health-Holland, MassBio, HollandBIO and the Henri A. Termeer Tribute Committee will provide support for accelerating the growth of their life sciences hubs and the global opportunities for their respective domestic research organizations and companies. The partnership entails regular dialogues to promote a mutual understanding of the environment for life sciences in Europe, in the U.S. and worldwide, and facilitate global expansion. Collectively, these organizations will set-up various activities to foster collaboration and partnership across the Atlantic such as exchange of scientific results, pitches of research projects and generally fostering the flow of talent, ideas and people between the two ecosystems.

Focco Vijselaar, Director-General Enterprise and Innovation at Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy: “The Netherlands and Massachusetts have successful life sciences communities. By joining forces in this partnership they can both be strengthened.” Mark Sullivan, Executive Director of Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment: “By signing this MoU we underline the great opportunities that lie ahead of two formidable life sciences ecosystems, here in Massachusetts as well as in the Netherlands. This international partnership will help create economic development and investment in the sector.”

John Maraganore, co-chair of The Henri A. Termeer Tribute Committee, Board Member of BIO and CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: “This MOU is a great demonstration of the international leadership of Massachusetts in life sciences, as well as the fast-growing development of the Netherlands as an environment that champions a vibrant ecosystem for life sciences and healthcare innovation. As a company headquartered in Cambridge, MA and with strategic and growing European operations in the Netherlands, we are strongly convinced that the collaboration potential between innovators in these two leading life sciences hubs is immense, and patients are waiting for the fruits of our work.”

Hans Schikan, Top Team member of Health-Holland: “Working together is part of the Dutch DNA. By collaborating with the best we can identify innovative solutions that matter.” Robert K. Coughlin, President and CEO, MassBio: “Disease has no borders, and neither should the research and development necessary to create new therapies and cures. We’re looking forward to embarking on this international partnership with the Netherlands and sharing the talent, resources, and capabilities of Massachusetts’ innovation ecosystem so we can all more efficiently bring new tomorrows to patients around the globe.”

Annemiek Verkamman, Managing Director at HollandBIO, the Dutch biotech industry association: “This transatlantic partnership provides a solid basis for increased collaboration between both our vibrant life sciences communities. We are looking forward to helping create opportunities for innovation and investments and fostering mutual understanding of our life sciences ecosystems.”

Lissa Culbertson Boxy

Senior Account Manager Life Sciences & Health