December 17, 2014

Life Sciences

Lab Work

Jackson Laboratory is expanding into Collier County, Florida

Art Levy | 9/1/2010
Jackson Laboratory
Jackson Laboratory

Looking to broaden the county’s economic base, Collier County believes it has found a partner in Maine-based Jackson Laboratory. The lab, a major player in genetics research, was looking to expand when Collier County came calling. The county put together a deal offering $130 million from its own funds, and state legislators have promised another $130 million from the state’s incentive fund.

Jackson Laboratory

Headquarters: Bar Harbor, Maine, with a branch location in Sacramento, Calif.

Employees: 1,297, including 200 Ph.D.s, M.D.s, and D.V.M.s (doctors of veterinary medicine)

Revenue: $166 million, including $54.3 million in program grants and contracts and $98.7 million from mice and mice services

Specialty: The non-profit lab focuses on mammalian genetics research. It maintains more than 1,800 targeted and 900 transgenic mutant mouse lines, many of which are models for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, among others. It has shipped laboratory mice to more than 19,000 researchers at more than 900 institutions around the world.

So far, the state and the county have approved a combined $78 million.

Jackson plans to build a facility on a site in eastern Collier County near Ave Marie. The lab is expected to invest some $300 million of its own over the next three years.

Even without the money in place, the lab announced a partnership with the University of South Florida. Jackson and USF plan to collaborate on research intended to "lead the nation toward personalized medicine, in which disease prevention and treatment are based on a person’s unique genetic makeup." The non-profit has also agreed to collaborate on educational programs with Edison State College and Collier County schools.

Tammie Nemecek, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Collier County, sees the lab, which would initially employ 200, as a catalyst to attract other research labs and spur the development of a research, educational and "biomedical village."

Tammie Nemecek
Tammie Nemecek
According to an analysis by the Washington Economic Group, such a research park would generate 7,500 jobs and $500 million in annual economic activity.

"Our thinking here is developing a cluster, not just developing one institute," Nemecek says. "What we need is a game changer, something that helps transform the economy of Collier County."

Tags: Southwest

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