Central Florida: High Tech Hotbed
Life Science / Biotech / Medical
» Thirty minutes southeast of downtown Orlando and adjacent to Orlando International Airport, Lake Nona’s “Medical City” is a 650-acre emerging life sciences cluster featuring state-of-the-art clinical care, biotech research and educational facilities. Anchored by UCF’s College of Medicine, which graduated its charter class of students in May, and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Medical City is also home to the Cancer Research Institute of MD Anderson Orlando, Nemours Children’s Hospital, University of Florida Academic and Research Center and a VA Medical Center that will be the headquarters for the VA’s new medical simulation system. Valencia College has also opened a campus there to train students for careers in life sciences and other fields. The hope is that in time, research at medical city will spin off new companies. The Orlando region is also home to two of the nation’s largest hospital systems — Florida Hospital and Orlando Health — as well as one of the nation’s largest specialty pharmacy clusters and a growing medical device industry. Orlando’s 200 life sciences companies employ about 6,900 with an estimated payroll of more than $535 million.
RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS & TECH TRANSFER
» Founded in 1968 as Florida Technical University to graduate engineers to support Martin Marietta and the nation’s space program at Cape Canaveral, the University of Central Florida is Florida’s largest university with nearly 60,000 students and the second-largest university in the U.S. UCF remains fertile recruiting ground for the local high-tech industry. The military presence and the growth of UCF’s Research Park has also helped facilitate a number of centers of excellence at the university, including the Institute for Simulation and Training, the CREOL/College for Optics and Photonics and the Florida Solar Energy Center. The university attracts more than $110 million in research funding annually and was awarded 67 patents in 2012.
» Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute researchers are using an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the molecular causes of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity to aid them in developing innovative therapies to treat such diseases.
» The Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, a joint venture between Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham, opened in 2012.
» Researchers at the Cancer Research Institute of MD Anderson Orlando are conducting cutting-edge research to develop therapies for pancreatic, kidney, head and neck, lung, breast and brain cancers.
» Maitland-based Digital Risk, which develops software that provides risk analysis, fraud detection and regulatory compliance for the mortgage industry, is one of central Florida’s fastest-growing high-tech businesses. The company, which employs 1,500, reported $127 million in revenue in 2012. The firm was recently acquired by an Indian subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard for $175 million.
» Financial software and services company Harland Financial Solutions in Lake Mary serves more than 6,000 financial institutions, including banks, mortgage companies, credit unions and thrifts.