Jackson Labs Talks With USF, Eyes Tampa, Sarasota

There has been some buzz about town about whether Jackson Laboratory will expand its Maine and California biomedical research presence to the Tampa Bay region. Will they? Won't they? Time -- and money -- will tell.

The University of South Florida (USF) established an academic relationship with Jackson during Jackson's expansion discussions with Collier County last year. That deal fell through, so now Jackson is considering either Tampa or Sarasota as sites in which to expand their research, education and clinical care efforts.

Mike Hyde, vice president of advancement at Jackson, says the Tampa Bay region is desirable due to the close association with USF and other factors.

"USF is a primary partner," says Hyde. "We've had a number of discussions with others in Florida and around the world. For the time being, we envision ourselves tightly linked with USF. I'm sure that other relationships will develop over time. We're still evaluating the relevance of a couple of locations. The obvious pluses of the Tampa Bay area are proximity to USF, transportation and it's a pleasant city to be in. There are other entities there that offer up opportunities for collaboration. We see an institute in Florida as complementary to our operations in Maine and California."

Lisa Greene of USF's Health Communications is optimistic.

"We are excited about the many innovative research possibilities for our partnership, and we want to help Jackson locate anywhere in Florida that suits the interests of their program and of the state," says Greene. "We began that partnership when they were exploring the Collier County location, and our partnership continues as they explore locations in both Sarasota and Hillsborough."

Jackson's four criteria for expansion in the Tampa Bay region include synergistic partnerships, speedy development, robust state support and strong backing of the community.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Mike Hyde, Jackson Laboratory; Lisa Greene, USF St. Petersburg

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