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University of South Florida to Partner with Jackson Labs in Research Park

The University of South Florida's medical school, USF Health, will partner with the Jackson Laboratory in the planned biomedical research park near Ave Maria. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at a news conference in Naples.

A news release from the Jackson Laboratory says that Jackson and USF, which has schools of medicine, nursing and public health at its campus in Tampa, will "collaborate on a variety of initiatives to lead the nation toward personalized medicine in which disease prevention and treatment are based on a person's unique genetic makeup."

The announcement comes shortly before the Collier County Board of Commissioners meet July 27 to consider how or if the county will proceed with raising $130 million to subsidize the establishment of Jackson Lab's research facility in southwest Florida. The county's contribution would need to be matched by $130 million from the state of Florida.

The memorandum of understanding announced Tuesday says that USF and the Jackson Laboratory will collaborate in three key areas:

- Research aimed at curing diseases;
- Education for both medical students and continuing medical education;
- Clinical care that will provide personalized medical treatment for individuals.

Details such as the number of additional people that would be employed still need to be worked out, a spokesman for the Jackson Laboratory said. It is anticipated that a separate building would be constructed, according to Blake Gable, President of Real Estate for the Barron Collier Companies, which has spearheaded the development of the research park.

Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of its medical school, told the Naples Daily News that the university will begin working immediately on a business plan. He said he envisioned a building about 50,000 square feet and that the school would pursue state funding of $26 million for its construction. He also told the Naples Daily News that USF would be seeking about $6 million a year for up to five years for clinical science programs.

Edison State College has previously announced that it hopes to establish a charter high school in the park, if it is constructed.

It also was announced at the news conference that Dolph von Arx, a local philanthropist and businessman, has formed the Biomedical Leadership Council, an advisory board that will assist in the development of the research park.

Click here for a copy of the Jackson Laboratory news release, and here for the USF Health website, and here for a story from the Naples Daily News.
Click here for a story from GenomeWeb Daily News


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