It's a Go:
Florida Governor Signs Bill Funding TSRI Expansion
By Mika Ono
Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill into law this week
appropriating $310 million to fund the opening of a Florida
branch of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). The Palm
Beach County government will provide an additional $200 million
for the project.
"All of us at Scripps are delighted and honored by the confidence
placed in our institution by Governor Bush and the legislature
on behalf of the people of Florida," said Richard A. Lerner,
president of TSRI. "We are also grateful for the support and
commitment of the Palm Beach County government. We look forward
to working with our new community to create world-class biomedical
research, learning opportunities, jobs, and economic development
that will benefit Floridians throughout the state. This is
a landmark moment for Scripps and for Florida."
The governor signed the bill into law at Nabi Biopharmaceuticals,
a biopharmaceutical facility in Boca Raton, on Monday, November
"Rarely in public service do we have the opportunity to
make strong, bold moves with the power to change the future
of the people we serve," said Bush in a statement. "The Scripps
Research Institute partnership is the key that unlocks the
vast potential of biotech research and commerce in this state.
Together, Scripps and Florida will build a world-class research
facility that spurs discovery as well as economic development
across the state."
The bill appropriates $310 million in federal stimulus funds
for the start-up operations of the Florida campuswhich
has been unofficially dubbed "Scripps Florida." The start-up
phase of Scripps Florida will last seven years, after which
time the research center will be self-sufficient.
According to the provisions of the new legislation, TSRI
will not expand beyond California or Florida for 12 years;
it will employ at least 545 employees in Florida within seven
years; and it will reinvest up to $155 million in royalty
income to the state's Biomedical Research Trust Fund.
In addition, TSRI will support education in the state by
collaborating with Florida universities, colleges, and academic
institutions, offering a graduate program there, establishing
a science seminar series, and providing onsite educational
opportunities for high school students.
Funds from the Palm Beach County government will go towards
building a new facility and research park, scheduled to open
in 2006, as well as providing temporary laboratory facilities,
which should be up and running in six to eight months.
A delegation of Palm Beach County and Florida Atlantic University
officials toured the Scripps La Jolla campus on Wednesday
to learn more about the operations there. Guests included
Palm Beach County Commissioners Karen Marcus, Addie Green,
Jeff Koons, Warren Newell, and Tony Masilotti, as well as
Frank Brogan, president of Florida Atlantic University.
"They asked probing questions about how we operate, the
kind of people we employ, and the general culture of our institution,"
said Keith McKeown, vice president of communications and public
relations. "There is a tremendous sense of goodwill in the
Reporters from the Palm Beach Post, the Sun-Sentinel,
and Palm Beach's News12 covered the visit to the TSRI campus.
Officials from Palm Beach County and
Florida Atlantic Universityincluding Karen Marcus, chair
of the Palm Beach County Commission, and Frank Brogan, president
of Florida Atlantic Universitytoured the TSRI campus
on Wednesday. Photo by Kevin Fung.