A Big Boost for Biotech

Life Science & Technology Park hosts grand opening

Life Science & Technology Park

South Florida’s future as a biotech hub brightened considerably on September 20, when the University of Miami officially dedicated its ambitious Life Science & Technology Park in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.

“This is more than a building,” UM President Donna E. Shalala told the almost 300 government officials, business executives, and community members gathered in the lobby of R+D Building One, the first of five buildings for the planned eight-acre complex. “This is a place where education, research, and technology intersect with discovery and innovation. This is the home of future cures and treatments for some of the most vexing and chronic problems we face today.”

Situated on land once dominated by automobile yards, the 252,000-square-foot facility developed by Wexford Science + Technology LLC now houses lab-ready suites for scientists, medical startups, pharmaceutical companies, and other ventures. It was pre-certified with a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating and won the 2011 Urban Land Institute Project of the Year Vision Award.

The building houses R+D labs and medical startups.

“It’s top drawer,” said H. Thomas Temple, UM Tissue Bank director and professor and vice chair of orthopaedics surgery. “It makes people realize that we have a lot of pride in what we’re doing.”

UM President’s Council member and alumni parent Jonathan “Jack” Lord, B.S. ’73, M.D. ’78, newly appointed chief innovation officer and professor of pathology at the Miller School of Medicine, called the venture “a focal point for the development of new businesses.” The former Humana CIO has responsibilities for the park and two of Building One’s tenants—the tissue bank and UM Innovation, a hub for technology advancement.

Other tenants of the 60 percent leased facility include Spanish information technology company Andago, medical device firms Emunamedica and DayaMed, Community Blood Centers of South Florida, intellectual prop-erty law firm Novak Druce + Quigg, clinical research firm AdvancedPharma, and the Enterprise Develop-ment Corporation of South Florida.

The Washington Economics Group estimated phase one of the park could create thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Neighbors were invited to hear about these and other opportunities at the park’s Overtown Community Resource Fair in September. UM, Miami Dade College, and South Florida Workforce are rolling out a $400,000 career training program to help local candidates gain health care and biotech placements in the burgeoning Health District.

Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, senior vice president for medical affairs and CEO of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, said the LSTP is “a conduit for international partnerships” that “will enable us to move research forward into advanced treatments that will be brought to patients in South Florida, across the United States, and around the world more quickly than ever before.”