July 23, 2014

Business Florida 2011 - The Regions

Southwest - Partnerships Mean Success

Collaboration brings innovation, investment and expanding businesses to Southwest Florida.

Ginger Broslat | 9/21/2010

Plentiful sunshine and the area's unique, natural beauty have been perennial lures for visitors to Southwest Florida. These days, the three counties that formally make up this region — Lee, Collier and Charlotte — are combining forces with the neighboring counties of Glades and Sarasota under the Southwest Florida Economic Development Partnership umbrella to spread the word about their collective assets and attractive business climate. As a result, this dynamic corner of the Florida peninsula is drawing interest across a wide spectrum of market sectors.

Planned biomedical village


A biomedical village anchored by Jackson Laboratory is planned for Collier County.
[Photo: The Jackson Laboratory]

A proposed research institute and biomedical village to be built near Naples in Collier County could become a global model of innovation in the rapidly expanding field of personalized medicine, which PricewaterhouseCoopers projects to become a $450-billion industry nationwide by 2015. The Jackson Laboratory, headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, is making plans to create The Jackson Laboratory-Florida as an epicenter of research, teaching, practice and commercialization of a highly personalized approach to medical care based on a detailed understanding of each patient's unique genetic makeup.

Charles Hewett, Ph.D., vice president and chief operating officer of Jackson Lab, believes that his organization stands at the door to a new era in healthcare, and calls the proposed Florida institute "a vast opportunity for Jackson Lab, our neighbors, our collaborators and, indeed, all of mankind."

The Jackson Laboratory-Florida is intended to be the catalyst for a 700-acre commercial, academic and research biomedical village that will serve as a live-learn-work-create community, incorporating pharmaceutical and medical supply companies; a teaching hospital and specialized clinics; a university extension campus; a charter high school; and support businesses.

Southwest Florida
Demographics for the Southwest Region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.
Regional Assets

Universities/Colleges
• Edison State College
• Florida Gulf Coast University
• Hodges University

Airports
• Charlotte County Airport
• Naples Municipal Airport
• Southwest Florida International Airport

Three medical/educational entities — the University of South Florida and USF Health; Edison State College (which will build a charter high school focusing on a science, technology and engineering curriculum at the Collier site); and Florida Gulf Coast University — have signed on as collaborating partners. Several for-profit companies and a venture capital firm are also talking with Jackson Lab about coming on board.

Says Stephen Klasko, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, "Jackson Laboratory's longstanding expertise in mammalian genetics and its cutting-edge genomics research are known around the world. The possibilities for collaboration are limited only by our imagination."

A Biomedical Leadership Council has been formed to identify and recruit parallel non-profit and for-profit entities to cluster and grow together at the proposed Florida Biomedical Village. Made up of business and healthcare professionals, the council will initially focus on attracting new institutes and companies to collaborate with Jackson Laboratory. As technologies develop and discoveries emerge, the council will work to facilitate a seamless integration of research, academia and business by expanding its scope to include patent counsel, venture capital assistance, small business advice, academic outreach and other appropriate initiatives.

Council member Edmundo Muniz, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Bonita Springs-based Tigris Pharmaceuticals, sees the collaboration between Jackson Laboratory, USF and other Florida-based partners as "the realization of a dream."

"This important development solidifies the viability of Collier County's vision of creating a biomedical cluster," he says. "Yet, as enormously significant as this is, it's only the beginning."

Funding for the project is expected to come from a variety of sources, including $130 million from the state of Florida, a portion of which is contingent on receipt of Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A local match of $130 million, under review by the Collier County Commission, is expected to be approved in September 2010. Construction on the biomedical village will proceed as funds become available, with a goal of occupancy in late 2012.

Tags: Southwest, Business Florida

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