SARASOTA, FLA., March 2, 2011 -- The Jackson Laboratory announced today that it will partner with the University of South Florida (USF), Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to develop genetics-based treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes at a new research facility in Sarasota County.
The project, to be known as The Jackson Laboratory–Florida, will be housed in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota County and will also occupy laboratories and offices within the USF Health complex in Tampa. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation and other community agencies will spearhead the creation of a major biomedical village, including research, clinical medicine, education, and residential and retail activity, that will grow up around the new Jackson facility.
Charles Hewett, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Jackson Laboratory, said the arrangement is ideal for the creation of a regional biomedical hub. “Our facility in Sarasota County, coupled with operations on the USF Health campus, will build the collaborations essential to breakthrough discoveries, clinical medicine and educational outreach,” he said. “These collaborations will enrich the entire region.”
Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of USF, said, “The University is fortunate to have attracted an internationally renowned research institute to locate in the region. We are eager to launch our partnership.” She said USF will make laboratories, offices and research support facilities available to Jackson at nominal cost. “We are pleased to share our facilities with The Jackson Laboratory,” she said. “This arrangement promotes even closer scientific collaborations, and it lowers the cost to the public.”
Gwen MacKenzie, CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, said, “Our partnership with The Jackson Laboratory and USF Health will bring the most advanced medical thinking in the world to our patients in Sarasota and this region. Together, we will provide personalized health care tailored to each individual’s genetic makeup.”
Sarasota leaders will draw on The Jackson Laboratory–Florida to build a major biomedical industry presence in the county. According to Jim Ley, Sarasota County administrator, the Jackson-based development could generate as many as 2,200 new jobs and $600 million per year in economic activity by 2030.
Teri A. Hansen, president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, said, “Our organization will use The Jackson Laboratory–Florida as the scientific and intellectual leverage we need to build a knowledge-based, 21st century economy that will improve the lives of the people in our region.”
Hewett said that Jackson officials, accompanied by the various government and private partners, will soon approach Gov. Rick Scott for guidance. “We will explain the economic and medical benefits, and we will ask for his support,” Hewett said.
Sarasota County officials indicated they will seek voter approval for the necessary investment of county funds. A referendum could be held as early as July. If the public approves the funding, construction could begin within 12 months after the vote. The Jackson Laboratory–Florida would begin operations in temporary facilities immediately after funding is secured.
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About The Jackson Laboratory
The Jackson Laboratory (www.jax.org) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center with 1,344 employees at its headquarters in Bar Harbor, Maine, and at its West Coast facility in Sacramento, Calif. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community. Media Contact: Joyce Peterson, Public Information Manager, The Jackson Laboratory, 207-288-6058; firstname.lastname@example.org.
About USF Health
USF Health (www.health.usf.edu) is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School Physical of Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. With more than $394.1 million in research grants and contracts in FY2009/2010, the University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university. The USF System includes USF St. Petersburg, USF Polytechnic, and USF Sarasota-Manatee.
About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Founded in 1925, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (www.smh.com) is one of the 10 largest acute care public health systems in America, and third largest in Florida, with about 4,000 staff and 800 physicians in 55 specialties. It is Sarasota County’s second-largest employer and the only not-for-profit hospital in this four-county Suncoast region. With an 806-bed acute care hospital and comprehensive network of outpatient services – pain care, rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging and laboratory, home health and a nursing home among its many services – Sarasota Memorial offers the region’s greatest breadth and depth of care and is the only hospital in Southwest Florida that consistently ranks among America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades.
About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
At Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice (www.gulfcoastcf.org), we inspire people and mobilize resources to transform our community. Working with proactive donors who want to make a lasting impact, we invest in the work of community organizations that change lives for the better, every day. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in late 1995. Since we began making grants in 1996, we have funded more than $113 million in the areas of arts and culture, health and human services, education, civic affairs, and the environment. Gulf Coast is the largest community foundation in Florida.