The Bar Harbor, Maine-based Jackson Laboratory is making some tentative plans to create a 145,000-square-foot genomics research center near Naples, FL--provided the Sunshine State's lawmakers agree to put up more than $200 million to finance it.
Advocates say that the Jackson Genomics Institute, which would staff up with 200 people in the first five years and later grow to 300, would concentrate on genetic research in pursuit of a new generation of therapeutics.
"It is very futuristic and we're not certain today where it will go,'' Jackson vice president Mike Hyde told the Boston Globe. "But we know the implications are enormous and it's a part of the scientific world we want to understand.''
A few years ago, Florida set out with ambitious plans to recruit some of the world's leading research institutes to the state, and its offering of hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives drew satellite operations for Scripps, Torrey Pines, Max Planck and others. More recently, though, some of the state's lawmakers have been outspoken in their criticism of devoting so much money to fostering a biotech hub. Jackson Lab officials say that they should learn whether or not their project will gain a green light later in the summer.