Shire top recipient of state tax credits

Life Sciences Center distributes $21.2m to companies vowing to create 946 jobs

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center handed out $21.2 million in tax credits to 28 companies, with high-flying Shire HGT of Lexington garnering the top award of $3 million, bringing its three-year total under the program to $15.2 million.

The tax credits are designed to both help life sciences companies add  jobs in Massachusetts and reward those that do. The 28 companies that received awards this year promised to add 946 jobs. The Life Sciences Center  is authorized to issue $25 million in tax credits each year, but chose to hand out nearly $4 million less this year.

Some of the life sciences tax credits target smaller, struggling companies, but the big awards tend to go to rapidly expanding firms that in many cases probably don’t need the tax credits in order to grow. The credits can be used to offset taxes that the company owes or be used to generate cash by selling them back to the state.

Shire, a biopharmaceutical company, received a $3 million tax credit in return for a pledge to add 100 jobs in the coming year. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which is relocating from Cambridge to the Boston waterfront, received $2.4 million in tax credits and promised to add 100 jobs. Vertex received a similar amount from the Life Sciences Center last year.

Organogenesis, a Canton manufacturer of artificial skin, received an $857,000 tax credit this year, bringing its three-year total to $1.6 million. The firm also received a $7.4 million grant from the Life Sciences Center in 2009.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Other big winners this year include AVEO Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge ($2.3 million), Biogen Idec MA of Weston ($1.8 million), Ironwood Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge ($1.8 million), Momenta Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge ($1.2 million), and PerkinElmer Inc. of Waltham ($1.2 million).

Not every company awarded a tax credit ends up using it. Over the previous two years, seven companies declined the tax credits they were given. Another 13 companies either terminated their tax credits or returned them to the state after being unable to meet the job target.