USF Partners with Jackson Laboratory

Jackson Laboratory–Florida will be housed in a facility in Sarasota County and will have laboratories and offices at USF Health complex in Tampa.

USF President Judy Genshaft and Jackson Laboratory COO Charles Hewett. Photo credit: Amy Mariani / USF News


SARASOTA, Fla. (March, 2, 2011) – The Jackson Laboratory announced today that it will partner with the University of South Florida (USF), Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to develop genetics-based treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes at a new research facility in Sarasota County.


The project, to be known as The Jackson Laboratory–Florida, will be housed in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota County and will also occupy laboratories and offices within the USF Health complex in Tampa. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation and other community agencies will spearhead the creation of a major biomedical village, including research, clinical medicine, education, and residential and retail activity, that will grow up around the new Jackson facility.


Charles Hewett, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Jackson Laboratory, said the arrangement is ideal for the creation of a regional biomedical hub. “Our facility in Sarasota County, coupled with operations on the USF Health campus, will build the collaborations essential to breakthrough discoveries, clinical medicine and educational outreach,” he said. “These collaborations will enrich the entire region.”


Judy Genshaft, Ph.D., president of USF, said, “The University is fortunate to have attracted an internationally renowned research institute to locate in the region. We are eager to launch our partnership.”


She said USF will make laboratories, offices and research support facilities available to Jackson at nominal cost. “We are pleased to share our facilities with The Jackson Laboratory,” Genshaft said. “This arrangement promotes even closer scientific collaborations, and it lowers the cost to the public.”


Gwen MacKenzie, CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, said, “Our partnership with The Jackson Laboratory and USF Health will bring the most advanced medical thinking in the world to our patients in Sarasota and this region. Together, we will provide personalized health care tailored to each individual’s genetic makeup.”


Sarasota leaders will draw on The Jackson Laboratory–Florida to build a major biomedical industry presence in the county.


According to Jim Ley, Sarasota County administrator, the Jackson-based development could generate as many as 2,200 new jobs and $600 million per year in economic activity by 2030.


Teri A. Hansen, president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, said, “Our organization will use The Jackson Laboratory–Florida as the scientific and intellectual leverage we need to build a knowledge-based, 21st century economy that will improve the lives of the people in our region.”


Hewett said that Jackson officials, accompanied by the various government and private partners, will soon approach Gov. Rick Scott for guidance. “We will explain the economic and medical benefits, and we will ask for his support,” Hewett said.


Sarasota County officials indicated they will seek voter approval for the necessary investment of county funds. A referendum could be held as early as July. If the public approves the funding, construction could begin within 12 months after the vote. The Jackson Laboratory–Florida would begin operations in temporary facilities immediately after funding is secured.


Media Contact:
Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory