TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Florida House and Senate conferees today recommended a $50 million appropriation for the Innovation Incentive Program as part of a three-year commitment of $130 million to establish a branch of The Jackson Laboratory in Collier County.
The recommendation will become final if the full Legislature approves it later this week and then the Governor signs it.
Rick Woychik, Ph.D., president and CEO of the nonprofit Laboratory, based in Bar Harbor, said the promise of state funding is “an important first step” in advancing this new project.
“We’re delighted that Florida’s draft budget includes support for a new branch of The Jackson Laboratory,” Mr. Woychik said. “If approved by the Governor, the final budget will be an essential vote of confidence that will help us attract the institutional partnerships and the matching funds we would need for the project to proceed.” Approval by the Laboratory’s Board of Trustees will also be required, Mr. Woychik noted.
According to Mr. Woychik, work at the new facility would complement the work of the laboratory’s 38 research groups in Maine, who investigate the genetic basis of diseases including cancers, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as normal development and aging. Tentative scientific plans for the Florida institute also build on the Laboratory’s strengths in bioinformatics and computational biology to advance understanding of human biology, health and disease.
Mr. Woychik stressed that The Jackson Laboratory has no intention of leaving Maine, where it employs about 1,200 people.
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