BOSTON — The biotech and life sciences sectors envision an "ecosystem of the brightest minds" growing soon in Watertown.

The relatively new Massachusetts Center for Advanced Biological Innovation and Manufacturing announced Thursday that it has secured $76 million in financing and signed a lease for a 40,000 square-foot site at The Arsenal on the Charles.

The project's architects say the center plans to use the new space to "help alleviate a backlog in biomanufacturing that frequently stretches as long as 18 months and can significantly delay critical research and development in cell and gene therapy, gene editing, immunotherapy, and biotechnology." The goal is to advance treatments or cures for rare diseases, as well as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.

"In order to serve patients better and faster, you need global collaboration between academic, biotechnology and industry partners. Ideas must be fostered and tested, materials must be available for testing, and manufacturing options must be at hand," said Cytiva President and CEO Emmanuel Ligner. "No one can achieve this alone. CABIM will create an ecosystem of the brightest minds across industries and immediate manufacturing capabilities to accelerate therapies for patients."

According to the center, the fundraising was led by Harvard University and other founding members of the center's board, including MIT, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Cytiva (formerly part of GE Healthcare Life Sciences), and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Other investors include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MilliporeSigma.

The initial funding will be used to build out the space, support a staff of 40 full-time employees, and maintain daily operations, according to project officials, who estimate the facility will open in early 2022.

The center's official name and its leadership team will be announced in the coming months.

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