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General Laws

Section 7. (a) There shall be established and placed within the center a fund to be known as the Dr. Craig C. Mello Small Business Equity Investment Fund, hereinafter in this section referred to as the fund, to be held by the center separate and apart from its other funds. The fund shall be credited any appropriations, bond proceeds or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited thereto, such additional funds as are subject to the direction and control of the center, any pension funds, federal grants or loans, royalties or private investment capital which may properly be applied in furtherance of the objectives of the fund, any proceeds from the sale of qualified investments secured or held by the fund, any fees and charges imposed relative to the making of qualified investments as defined by the center, secured or held by the fund and any other monies which may be available to the center for the purposes of the fund from any other source or sources. Any revenues, deposits, receipts, or funds received through the receipt of royalties, interest, dividends, or the sale of equity instruments shall be deposited in the fund, and shall be available to the center for the purposes described in this section, without further appropriation. All available moneys in the fund that are unexpended at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in the subsequent fiscal year.

(b) The center shall invest and reinvest the fund and the income thereof only as follows: (1) making qualified equity investments pursuant to subsection (c); (2) investing funds not required for immediate disbursement in the purchase of such securities as may be lawful investments for fiduciaries in the commonwealth; (3) paying binding obligations associated with such qualified investments which shall be secured by the fund as the same become payable; and (4) paying principal or interest on qualified investments secured by the fund or paying any redemption premium required to be paid when such qualified investments shall be redeemed prior to maturity; provided, however, that monies in the fund shall not be withdrawn at any time in such an amount as would reduce the amount of the fund to less than the minimum requirement thereof established by the board, except for the purpose of paying binding obligations associated with qualified investments which shall be secured by the fund as the same become payable.

(c) The fund shall be held and applied by the center to make qualified equity investments in enterprises seeking to raise seed capital; provided, however, that said qualified equity investments shall not exceed $250,000 in any 1 enterprise. The center shall not make such qualified equity investments unless: (1) said investment has been approved by a majority vote of the board; (2) the recipient is a life sciences company certified pursuant to section 5; and (3) the center finds, to the extent possible, that a definite benefit to the commonwealth’s economy may reasonably be expected from said qualified investment. In evaluating a request or application for funding, the center shall consider whether: (i) the proceeds of the equity investment shall only be used to cover the seed capital needs of the enterprise except as hereinafter authorized; (ii) the enterprise has a reasonable chance of success; (iii) the center’s participation is necessary to the success of the enterprise because funding for the enterprise is unavailable in the traditional capital markets or contingent upon matching funds, or because funding has been offered on terms that would substantially hinder the success of the enterprise; (iv) the enterprise has reasonable potential to create a substantial amount of primary employment in the commonwealth; (v) the enterprise’s principals have made or are prepared to make a substantial financial and time commitment to the enterprise; (vi) the securities to be purchased shall be qualified securities; (vii) there shall be a reasonable possibility that the center shall, at a minimum, recoup its initial investment; (viii) binding commitments have been made to the center by the enterprise for adequate reporting of financial data to the center, which shall include a requirement for an annual or other periodic audit of the books of the enterprise, and for such control on the part of the center as the board shall consider prudent over the management of the enterprise, to protect the investment of the center including the board’s right to access, without limitation, financial and other records of the enterprise; and (ix) a reasonable effort has been made to find a professional investor to invest in the enterprise and such effort was unsuccessful; and (4) said qualified equity investment conforms with the rules approved by the board.

Said rules shall establish the terms, procedures, standards and conditions which the center shall employ to identify qualified applications, process applications, make investment determinations, safeguard the fund, advance the objective of increasing employment opportunities, oversee the progress of qualified equity investments and secure the participation of other public instrumentalities, private institutions or the federal government in such qualified equity investments. Said rules shall provide that each recipient of a qualified investment shall be required to pay a fee as a condition of such receipt, and said fee may take the form of points, an interest rate premium or a contribution of warrants or other forms of equity or consideration to the fund. Said rules shall provide for negotiated agreements between the center and each recipient of a qualified investment regarding the terms and conditions by which the fund’s support thereof could be reduced or withdrawn.

(d) The center may solicit investments by private institutions or investors in the activities of the fund and may reach agreements with such private institutions or investors regarding the terms of such investments including, but not limited to, the rights of such investors to participate in the income or appropriation of the fund. To further the objective of securing investments by private institutions or investors in the activities of the fund pursuant to the preceding sentence, the center may develop a proposal relative to the creation of a separate investment entity which shall permit the commingling of the fund’s resources with the maximum participation by such private institutions or investors consistent with the public purpose of the fund and under the terms and conditions established to protect and preserve the assets of the fund.

(e) Copies of the approved rules, and any modifications thereto, shall be submitted to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, who shall forward the same to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies.

(f) Qualified equity investment transactions made by the center pursuant to this section shall not, except as specified in this chapter, be subject to chapter 175, or any successor thereto, and shall be payable solely from the Dr. Craig C. Mello Small Business Equity Investment Fund established by this section and shall not constitute a debt or pledge of the full faith and credit of the commonwealth, the center or any subdivision of the commonwealth.

(g) The center shall not make expenditure from or commitment of the assets of the fund including, but not limited to, the making of qualified investments secured by the fund, if following the making of said qualified investment, the amount of the fund shall be less than the minimum requirement established by the board.

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