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Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion

The Town of Norwood scored an economic development victory last week when its Town Meeting unanimously approved a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for Moderna Therapeutics. Moderna is a biopharma company headquartered in Cambridge that is “pioneering the development of a new class of drugs made of messenger RNA (mRNA). This novel drug platform builds on the discovery that modified mRNA can direct the body’s cellular machinery to produce nearly any protein of interest, from native proteins to antibodies and other entirely novel protein constructs that can have therapeutic activity inside and outside of cells.” Their cutting edge approach to generating transformative new medicines has attracted significant investments from other biotech giants like AstraZeneca, Vertex and Merck.

Moderna will rehab a building formerly used by Polaroid at Upland Woods in Norwood. They plan to invest $110 million in the 200,000 square foot facility. Once complete, Moderna will carry out all manufacturing activities from raw material production to active pharmaceutical ingredients , formulation, filling and finish at the site. They will relocate 100 jobs to the site initially, and anticipate adding more than 100 more jobs in the coming years.

The TIF agreement was negotiated by the Town’s Economic Development Committee (EDC), working with Norwood’s Town Planner, Paul Halkiotis, as well as chamber member, Lynn Tokarczyk, Business Development Strategies and the Mass Office of Business Development. The agreement calls for Moderna to receive a 40% tax exemption for 10 years, amounting to a savings of about $1.7 million. The Town of Norwood will receive new tax revenue of more than $250,000 a year until year eleven when it will realize in excess of $400,000 a year. In addition, the town will receive hundreds of thousands in permitting fees and the local economy will be enhanced by the prospect of 200 well-paying jobs being added to region.

Moderna representatives made it clear that they were considering many other sites and that they were swayed not just by the location of the facility, but by the willingness of town officials to work with them on a good TIF deal and to work quickly and decisively. This is a significant win for our region because until now, biotech companies have had their sites set specifically on locations north of Boston like Waltham, Woburn, Burlington and others.

Congratulations to Paul Halkiotis, EDC chair, Steve Costello, Lynn Tokarczyk and Norwood’s elected officials and Town Meeting members for completing the deal and keeping the big picture in mind. Let’s hope this move inspires others looking to expand beyond the city to consider the competitive advantages the Neponset Valley offers.