FALL RIVER, MA-As part of Governor Mitt Romney’s administration’s effort to keep biotech companies in Massachusetts, AVANT Immunotherapeutics is building an 11,000 sf process development and pilot manufacturing facility at 151 Martine St. The new lab will support the company’s development of its portfolio of bacterial vaccines.

The state, through MassDevelopment, its economic development entity, worked closely with AVANT to develop a financing framework that enabled the Needham, MA-based company to build the facility. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With the assistance of MassDevelopment, we can now complement our research and clinical expertise with the capability to develop and manufacture our own products,” says Una Ryan, Ph.D., AVANT’s president and CEO.

AVANT’s plans come as Romney announced that seven other biotech companies in the state plan to expand in Massachusetts in the next three to five years. Those companies include Abbott Bioresearch Center of Worcester; Alkermes of Cambridge and Chelsea;endoVia Medical Inc. of Norwood; Ipsen of Milford; MicroTest Laboratories Inc. of Agawam; Therion Biologics of Cambridge; and, ViaCell Inc. of Boston.

Romney’s administration also recently announced a multimillion dollar marketing effort to retain and recruit businesses in Massachusetts. The campaign is primarily aimed at what it calls the fast-growing sectors in the state–biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, new defense and plastics. The effort includes an integrated marketing campaign, a plan to call upon business within and outside the state poised for expansion and a coordinated effort to make it easier for businesses to build facilities in Massachusetts.

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