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UMass Boston Opens Venture Development Center to Expand R&D Activity

Facility to Foster Faculty and Student Research, Partnering with Industry

Boston (Vocus) May 1, 2009 -- The University of Massachusetts Boston today officially opened a cutting-edge Venture Development Center that will significantly expand the university's research and development activity and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for faculty and students. The 18,000-square-foot innovation center will be the university's focal point for industry outreach and partnering, and will offer state-of-the-art labs and research and collaborative facilities for UMass Boston's faculty and students to pursue research and development that drives lasting change and creates new products and services that dramatically improve people's lives.

"The University of Massachusetts Boston Venture Development Center is the most recent evidence of our commitment to growing our research and reputation for excellence," said Chancellor J. Keith Motley. "The Venture Development Center will broaden and stimulate UMass Boston's research activities, attract top faculty and students, and invigorate undergraduate and graduate learning and teaching. Equally important, it will expand Boston's innovation economy by bringing it to the Dorchester waterfront."

Research activity at UMass Boston has increased at a rate nearly double that of other research universities in the area - growing 50 percent over the past five years. This expansion in research activity is helping to grow UMass Boston's role as an economic engine in the region, generating $558 million in total economic activity in fiscal 2008.

"The Venture Development Center adds a new dimension to the university's longstanding engagement with the city and commonwealth for social and economic innovation," said William Brah, executive director of the center.

The Venture Development Center has already identified four industry partners that will locate in the facility:

  • GeoMed Analytical is a firm launched in the Venture Development Center by UMass Boston faculty member Dr. Robyn Hannigan, who chairs the Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences Department. It is a custom analytical services and support company devoted, in part, to advancing innovative analytical techniques for quantification of metals in biological samples in medical sciences.
  • Anthurium Solutions Inc. is an emerging software company that is building an innovative platform for matching continuous digital work with virtual workers globally. Anthurium Solutions employs a UMass Boston intern and seeks collaborations with UMass Boston health care students and faculty.
  • DPixel, based in Milan, Italy is a venture advisor and manager of an investment fund focused on digitalization of content and processes. DPixel's portfolio companies are seeking strategic partners in the United States, and DPixel will offer internships to UMass Boston business students interested in a career in venture capital.
  • Symmetric Computing is a Massachusetts-based high-performance computing start-up company developing advanced supercomputing at breakthrough performance and price for the life sciences industry. The firm seeks collaborations with UMass Boston scientists and will offer internships to UMass Boston computer science students.

"I want to congratulate UMass Boston on the opening of the new Venture Development Center. The spirit of discovery and innovation is the backbone of this new facility," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. "Not only will it attract start-up biotech, life sciences, and other research initiatives to right here in Dorchester, it will also generate spin-off economic development benefits for Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods."

In addition to the current partners, the Venture Development Center is working to launch the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy with Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center later this year. The center will work to develop affordable diagnostic tests that match a disease with therapy for community hospitals.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston's only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston's seven colleges and graduate schools serve more than 14,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

About the Venture Development Center
The Venture Development Center is the strategic business development arm of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The VDC offers faculty, staff, and students and their partners in industry and other organizations with an important shared space and expertise for advancing collaborations and translating research capacities into development activities. The VDC serves as the portal for business partnerships at UMass Boston and is the steward of UMass Boston's intellectual property program. To learn more about the Venture Development Center, visit


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