Scientist blueprints $245M personalized med institute

Dietrich Stephan was a founding scientist at the $90 million Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. Now he has ambitious plans to establish a $245 million research institute in Northern Virginia that would recruit 500 top scientists to spearhead pioneering work on personalized drug therapies.

Stephan has already recruited George Washington University, George Mason University and Inova Health System to bankroll the cost of a business plan from PricewaterhouseCoopers.  And they may support further development work to establish the institute, which would do in-depth science aimed at developing new therapies and devices that would be custom-made to work with an individual's DNA.

"There is no other place in the country or world where people are thinking about this in a holistic way," said Stephan. "Right now, it's happening very haphazardly around the country. But there's a way to do it that's systematic and focused, and that will result in higher yield in the back end."

"The timing, in terms of the economy, isn't perfect. But on the other hand, the opportunity is great," said George Vradenburg, vice chairman of the Chesapeake Crescent. "If neither Virginia nor Maryland is prepared to do this, other regions in the country are itching to get their hands on this opportunity."

- read the story in the Baltimore Business Journal

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