Biomedical Research Facility Coming to Florida

By Mike Vasilinda
7:20 p.m. August 23, 2006

Within a year, the Burnham Institute of La Jolla, California plans to open an Orlando campus to continue researching cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity and much more.

The deal involves more than $150 million in state money. Orlando and Port St. Lucie on the east coast have been courting the prestigious Burnham Institute for months. At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Orlando got the call. Three hours later, it was official.

John Reed, Burnham Institute CEO, said, "I’m pleased to announce that the new home for Burnham Institute in Florida will be Orlando.”

The California based researcher will set up shop next to the medical school on the UCF campus within a year. Up to 300 people will eventually look for various cures.

John Reed said, “We already have an emphasis in cancer, degenerative diseases and infectious diseases, and we will expand that type of work in Florida, but we’ll also begin to develop a new focus in diabetes and obesity research."

The state is putting up $155 million. Local governments will match that amount, making the cost of creating each new job about a million dollars. Jeb Bush says it is money well spent.

Gov. Jeb Bush said, “To me, this is a statewide effort. I think it invigorates all of our universities. It helps focus our community colleges to start having technical degrees."

Back in 1966, Gov. Hayden Burns forever changed the direction of Florida when he inked the Disney deal. This governor’s legacy is likely to be biomedical research.

Before he leaves office, Bush promises more announcements in the months to come.

The University of Florida will also co-locate with the researcher on the UCF campus, marking the first time two Florida universities have cooperated on a project of this type.