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Joint Statement - Sarasota Memorial & USF Health

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June 3, 2011 -- Both Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and USF Health deeply appreciate the work by many members of our communities in pursuing the opportunity to bring a facility from Jackson Laboratory to Florida. Jackson Laboratory of Maine announced today that it is withdrawing its effort to build a facility in Florida.

Following the Jackson Lab announcement, both the University of South Florida and Sarasota Memorial have agreed to continue their discussions around developing highly advanced personalized, health care.

“We appreciate all the work that Jackson, the Legislature and everyone working on this project has done,” Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie said. “We certainly recognize that state lawmakers faced one of their most challenging budget years as they struggled to balance myriad needs. While we are sorry to lose the opportunity to partner with Jackson, we remain keenly interested in the opportunity to work with USF and develop a new plan to bring personalized medicine to our community.”  

The chance to work with Sarasota Memorial Health Care System proved to be an exciting opportunity, said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, USF's Senior Vice President for USF Health and Dean of the College of Medicine.

"We will continue the discussions and planning with Sarasota Memorial Health Care based on personalized health," Dr. Klasko said. "We're excited to bring those advances to the patients and residents of our state."

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The Jackson Laboratory Ends Florida Expansion Bid

Bar Harbor, ME, June 3, 2011 – The Jackson Laboratory announced today that it will withdraw its request for $100 million in state start-up funding for an expansion facility in Sarasota County, Florida. Laboratory officials based their decision on the lack of funds in Florida’s severely constrained state budget, which provides only limited funding for economic development activities.

Charles E. Hewett, Jackson’s executive vice president, said that senior economic development officials were supportive but did not have access to sufficient funds to ensure a successful launch of the proposed research institute. “We were invited to submit a much-reduced proposal to the Florida Innovation Fund, but the amount available in that fund now, and the uncertainty of future funding, made such a venture too speculative to undertake responsibly.”

Hewett said, “We are grateful to Governor Scott and the Florida legislature for considering our proposal in the midst of a challenging legislative session. We respect that the state had to make difficult priority decisions in order to balance the budget this year. While we regret that we cannot pursue our project, we hold the state and its officials in the highest possible regard.

“We are deeply grateful to our many friends in Sarasota County,” he said. “Their belief in our cause and their willingness to act on that belief has been truly inspiring. We can never fully repay the hospitality and kindness that have been extended to us. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our partners – the University of South Florida, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The Sarasota County commissioners and their executive leaders were superb, and the Sarasota legislative delegation provided invaluable advice on the process.”

Hewett indicated that this would be the final chapter in the Laboratory’s Florida venture. “We understand Florida’s budget situation, and we will turn our attention to other priorities,” he said.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.

Media Contact: Kim Savage, (941) 917-6271
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