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Spotlight on the new Ultragenyx Somerville, Mass. facility

Reflecting on our ribbon-cutting ceremony and the impact we have on our local communities.

Photo: Members of the Ultragenyx team join Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Photo: Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Katjana Ballantyne, Mayor of the City of Somerville, Sarah Stanton, Undersecretary of Economic Strategies for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development and Kate Walsh, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services join members of the Ultragenyx team at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ultragenyx is “doing cutting-edge work with gene therapies for rare diseases. It will save the lives of people, including children, whose families had nearly given up hope. The work done here will reduce suffering and bring joy back into people’s lives. It will make human life better on our planet.”

So said Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey at a speech given at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of our newest facility located in Somerville, Massachusetts on June 20th. The 42,730-square-foot location is home to our early-stage planning for gene therapy and preclinical cell line development.

The opening marks the second time in 12 months that we expanded our operation in the Commonwealth state; a year ago, we held the Grand Opening of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the neighboring Town of Bedford, creating an innovation ecosystem from bench to market that will make it faster, easier and more economical to research, investigate and manufacture life-saving treatments for patients living with rare and ultrarare diseases.


A woman with short brown hair stands behind a podium with an Ultragenyx logo, talking into a microphone.

Photo: Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey

Six adults stand smiling while wearing white lab coats in front of medical research laboratory equipment.

Dr. Emil Kakkis in the gene therapy R&D lab with members of the Ultragenyx team.

Somerville is the nucleus to help create things from scratch.

“Somerville is the nucleus to help create things from scratch,” Chief Executive Officer Emil Kakkis told Hannah Green, a reporter with the Boston Business Journal (BBJ), in an interview. “Gene therapy has the possibility to change the future. It is among the most important work being done in the state. It’s something that Massachusetts can participate in, and be proud of. Whatever we do here is for all time.” Green covered the opening in a story that can be read here.

We chose Somerville because of its central location between Massachusetts’ established life-science epicenter in Cambridge and Greater Boston and our other gene therapy facilities in Woburn and Bedford. The Somerville office and lab space is also appealing for employees, whose commutes can be made easier by a new train stop on Boston’s MBTA Green Line as well convenient access to a bike path.


From Somerville all the way through to the Middlesex Turnpike, we are working to catalyze a life-science ecosystem in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that has a positive impact on our surrounding communities.

Since we began investing in Bedford’s infrastructure in 2020, the Town has reported downstream benefits that include more than $1 billion in new investments; 15 projects including new construction, retrofits, tenant fit outs and infill totaling $1.487B; the attraction of more than eight new companies to the area; and growth in industrial assessed values and Bedford property taxes. These positive economic developments are why we won the MassEcon Award for Economic Impact for the Northeast Region in April 2024. And our impact doesn’t stop there. Through charitable giving, employee volunteering (1,400+ hours in the region over the last 18-months) and partnerships with various organizations, we are demonstrating our dedication to promoting equitable healthcare, advancing STEAM education and uplifting local and at-risk communities.

“This is a profound purpose, a high calling,” the Governor said at the event. “I am so grateful to be able to say this degree of innovation and impact is unique to Massachusetts. Ultragenyx is part of, and contributes to, the greatest life sciences cluster on the planet, right here in our state.”

We couldn’t agree more.


A large group of colleagues join together on a wide stairway for a team picture.

Photo: Our Somerville team with members of our leadership team and Somerville’s Mayor Ballantyne after the event.