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Jackson Laboratory Pulls Plan to Build Facility in Sarasota County, Florida-Lack of State Funding For Economic Development Stem

Posted Jun 04 2011 1:10pm

Creating the research and development center would have brought additional jobs image and additional spin off companies to the area but now the company is looking to build in other states, such as Utah and Texas to further research on personalized medicine.  According to the article below the state wanted a proposal for a reduced amount of funding which Jackson Labs said was not possible and did not resubmit a lower dollar amount.  Jackson Labs had not been able to meet with Rick Scott, governor of Florida who appeared to not be very keen on the project going back to the days of campaigning. 

The governor had also been on record as being opposed to embryonic stem cell research so we know how that works in the wacky world of politics today and that is strange due to the fact that in a former life he was the CEO of a major hospital chain in the southeast until he was forced to resign due to an investigation of Medicare fraud.  It all seems to point back to the same old direction once again.  Voters would have been asked in time to add an additional $100 million in local funding.  BD 

From the Website:

“We are an independent, nonprofit organization focusing on mammalian genetics research to advance human health. Our mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease, and to enable research for the global biomedical community.”

Jackson Laboratory said Friday it will withdraw its request for $100 million in state funding, ending its plans for a proposed biomedical village in Sarasota County that could have eventually employed thousands.

The decision brings to a close Sarasota County's high-profile and expensive effort to move the local economy away from its dependence on construction, retirees and tourism and break into the burgeoning life sciences and pharmaceutical fields.

Had the lab overcome severe state funding obstacles and achieved its promise, biomedical science would have become one of the largest sectors in the local economy by 2031. By then, the lab would have had an annual economic impact of $550 million, through direct employment, spin-off companies and affiliated research.

The six-month effort to get the Bar Harbor, Maine-based lab to build a 129,000-square-foot research facility here fell apart Friday when it was asked to submit "a much-reduced proposal" for state funding and declined to do so, Chuck Hewett, Jackson's executive vice president, said in a release.

That meeting apparently never came about, though a scheduled meeting this week was widely rumored. Hansen, state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, and Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta all said they thought a meeting with Scott was scheduled. The governor had made negative comments about Jackson's Collier County bid during last year's campaign.

Since Scott became governor, his limited comments about the Jackson project all involved whether the lab's economic impact would generate enough in new state tax dollars to warrant a state investment.

Scott's office declined Friday to comment on Jackson's decision.


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