That was the theme of ceremonies Wednesday afternoon on the Bedford Woods campus off Middlesex Turnpike. The gathering took place outside the enclosed shell of what will be a manufacturing facility for Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, the California-based firm specializing in developing therapies for rare genetic diseases.
The cause for celebration was a $500,000 grant to the town through the Commonwealth’s MassWorks infrastructure program. Much of the sum will help finance the expansion of sanitary sewer capacity to accommodate the needs of Ultragenyx and other life-science manufacturing companies that town officials hope also will locate nearby.
Thomas Lauzon, Vice President of Manufacturing for Ultragenyx, said he expects the 100,000-square-foot facility to be operational in mid-2023, employing more than 100. He noted that the firm is building a relationship with Middlesex Community College to bolster the industry’s workforce.
Town Manager Sarah Stanton, presiding at the ceremonies, recounted the day in February 2019 when she and former Economic Development Director Alyssa Sandoval met with Ultragenyx representatives to deliver a convincing pitch—while standing along the side of the road “in the freezing cold.”
Stanton noted that Ultragenyx and the Gutierrez Co., developer of Bedford Woods, have pledged to help offset the cost of the sewer expansion.
“This project represents collaboration at its best,” stated State Rep. Kenneth Gordon. “This is how government is supposed to work.” The state, the town, and the business community all are invested, he added.
Mike Kennealy, state secretary of housing and economic development, announces MassWorks awards throughout the state. In Bedford he spoke of the importance of life sciences to the state’s economy.
All of the speakers called attention to the mission of Ultragenyx: improving the lives of people with rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. Stanton said she feels “an overwhelming sense of pride that people’s lives will be saved by the work they’re doing.” Kennealy agreed, noting that “life sciences has an extra dimension, which is the patients.”
Scott Weiss, vice president of development for The Gutierrez Co., spoke of the years of preparation that opened the doors to biotechnology in the region. “It’s the partnership with the community that makes it possible,” he declared.
Also present were Select Board chair Margot Fleischman, with members Bopha Malone and Emily Mitchell; public works director David Manugian; chief of police Robert Bongiorno; planning director Tony Fields; assistant town manager for operations Amy Fidalgo; special assistant to the town manager Charlie Tickotsky; and executive director of the Middlesex 3 Coalition Stephanie Cronin.
The backdrop featured occasional dump trucks rolling to and from an adjacent construction site for another Gutierrez building aimed at the life sciences industry.
Faces in the Crowd
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763