State Grants $30 M to URMC

Funds to infuse local economy, boost biotech breakthroughs

September 23, 2002


Governor George E. Pataki and other state government leaders today presented the University of Rochester Medical Center with a $30 million grant in support of the Medical Center’s biomedical research strategic plan. The grant represents the largest single contribution yet to the Medical Center’s ten-year initiative to establish Rochester as a national hub for biomedical technology.

University president Thomas H. Jackson and Medical Center CEO Jay H. Stein, M.D., accepted the grant at a news conference this morning, held in the atrium of the Arthur Kornberg Medical Research Building at the Medical Center.

“Today is a significant day for Rochester and the State of New York,” Jackson said. “Through the ambitious initiative begun some years ago under Governor Pataki’s leadership, our goals for research and economic development through biotechnology are becoming a reality. This is not only important to the University of Rochester, but to the entire community and region.”

“This $30 million granted to the University of Rochester Medical Center by the State of New York will take biotechnology to a new level, boosting New York’s economy with the promise of new jobs, and fostering lifesaving medical breakthroughs,” Stein said. “I thank the Governor and the leadership in Albany for their vision and tenacity in making today’s announcement possible.”

According to Stein, the Medical Center requested funds in order to:

  • Develop the mechanisms to effectively transfer new discoveries from medical laboratories to the private sector. Specifically, funds were requested to:
    • develop space to house biotech companies that commercialize discoveries made in Medical Center laboratories. Rochester Technology Park (RTP), a facility in Gates, will serve as a site in which many new biotechnology start-up companies can be incubated and launched. In addition to Medical Center spin-off companies, RTP will also house established biotech companies interested in partnering with UR researchers.
    • provide start-up capital needed to create business strategies, secure facilities and further develop breakthrough ideas coming from Medical Center laboratories.
  • help finance the construction and/or renovation of the Medical Center’s nearly 400,000-square-feet of new research laboratories, space critical to the recruitment of top-level scientists and technicians.

Speaking at the event, Rochester Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas T. Mooney voiced support for the Governor’s strategy of investing state dollars into research and development. “For the more than 4,500 member companies of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, I applaud the efforts of Governor Pataki in leading New York State’s economic turnaround,” he said. “The Governor is focusing on job creation by leveraging state dollars to attract new private sector investments. Here in Rochester, that means better outcomes for patients, as well as new jobs in companies created to commercialize research breakthroughs.”

The Governor’s support validates Stein’s vision of Rochester as a biotechnology hub. In 1996, the Medical Center unveiled its Discovery Initiative, a ten-year, $500 million effort to revitalize biomedical research and biotechnology in the greater Rochester region. Since then, the community has seen the construction of two new research facilities, the recruitment of over 70 scientists, and unprecedented growth in federal research dollars coming into Rochester.

The Medical Center now attracts more than $108 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health each year, a figure that has increased by 73% in just five years. At least nine Medical Center departments now rank in the top 20 in the nation for funding from the National Institutes of Health: orthopaedics, neurology, biochemistry, microbiology, biostatistics, dentistry, obstetrics, pharmacology, and pediatrics.

The State’s $30 million investment is estimated to yield handsome dividends. Through a combination of new construction jobs and full-time, permanent jobs at the Medical Center, plus jobs created in spinoff companies and related vendors, it is estimated that the Medical Center’s research initiative will increase regional employment by 3,565 jobs.

In addition, the effort is projected to import $45 million in venture capital into Rochester and increasing royalties paid to the University.

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Teri D'Agostino
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