Jackson Lab, USF in discussions with Hillsborough and Sarasota County leaders but remain interested in Collier

Media contact: Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

Bar Harbor, Maine (Jan. 13, 2011) – The Jackson Laboratory and the University of South Florida have begun preliminary discussions with business and community leaders in Hillsborough County and Sarasota County about alternative locations for the proposed Jackson Laboratory – Florida. Jackson and USF officials indicated that their interest in a Collier County location remains strong.

In early January Jackson withdrew its application to Enterprise Florida for $50 million in state funds to build a research institute in eastern Collier County so it could open a fresh round of discussions about the project with newly elected Gov. Rick Scott.

“We remain intensely interested in locating the facility in Collier County, and our partnership with USF Health is stronger than ever.” said Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D., Jackson’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “However, other Florida communities may offer advantages for our new institute, and we are certainly open to discussions with them.”

“USF and The Jackson Laboratory are committed to building a program that will improve the health of Floridians and the world,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF College of Medicine and senior vice president of USF Health. “We will consider any location that fulfills the interests of the program and the state and will follow Jackson’s lead in determining the best location.”

Hewett said Jackson has four criteria for siting the project: synergistic partnerships, speedy development of the project, robust state support, and strong backing in the local community.

“All three counties we’re currently considering have distinct advantages and would be favorable locations for us,” Hewett said.

Jackson and USF have proposed to build a biomedical research facility that would combine Jackson’s expertise in cutting-edge genomics techniques and USF’s extensive capabilities in clinical medicine to explore new approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating the diseases that plague Floridians.

Jackson and USF plan to collaborate in three key areas: research, education and clinical care.

Research. Jackson and USF researchers are exploring potential collaborations. Joint efforts in computational biology and bioinformatics as they apply to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and metabolic diseases are particularly promising opportunities. Researchers and clinicians will work together to bring the latest discoveries into clinical practice, with an emphasis on new medicine that is tailored to respond to the individual.

Education. Advancing technologies demand a different kind of education for the next generation of healthcare professionals. USF Health and Jackson are leaders in medical and scientific education. The partnership will lead the way in educating students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and emerging health professions in the areas of personalized health, pharmacogenomics, and bioinformatics. The partnership also expects to develop continuing medical education programs to help teach doctors and other practicing health professionals about these new areas of medicine.

Clinical care. Jackson and USF Health will team with other health care organizations to develop a clinical campus that will provide the latest in cutting-edge personalized medicine and health care to patients in Florida and beyond. USF already is creating new models to help patients with chronic conditions live optimistically. The partnership will be ideally positioned to provide personalized medicine across a continuum of care, from home therapies to outpatient and inpatient services.

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The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a 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 biomedical community.

USF Health 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, pharmacy and public health; as well as the schools of biomedical sciences and physical therapy & rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group. With more than $394.1 million in research grants and contracts in FY2009/2010, the University of South Florida is one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community-engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.