Connecticut OKs $291M to build Jackson Lab genetics institute

Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy had to wage legislative combat to get his way, but by the time the dust had settled in the State Legislature last night he had the $291 million he needed to develop a new genetics research institute for Jackson Laboratory.

The state is gambling that its investment will help the state carve a prominent place for itself in the new world of personalized medicine. Researchers at the new lab will study how genes influence diseases, concentrating on finding new, tailored drugs for diseases like Alzheimer's, Down syndrome and cancer.

In exchange for the support, Jackson Lab is promising to create 300 new biotech jobs in Farmington over the next 10 years, a timeline that drew sneers from opponents. The money will be used to build a 173,000-square-foot research center on the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center. 

"Yes, this is about jobs--6,800 of them,'' Malloy said in a statement. "But it's also about a lot more than that. It's about making Connecticut a leader in a growth industry.''

Connecticut's gain is Florida's loss. The Sunshine State spent huge sums to bring in several of the world's leading research institutes in recent years. But the state never appeared all that eager to pursue Jackson Lab when it indicated an interest in the region.

- get the story from the Hartford Courant
- here's the story from the Connecticut Mirror