Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who promoted the growth of Florida’s biotech industry during his two terms in office, recently toured the University of Miami’s burgeoning Life Science & Technology Park, giving the project a thumbs up.
“The Life Science Park will be South Florida’s intersection for discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship,’’ Bush said following a briefing by Miller School of Medicine dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, MD, senior vice president for medical affairs and CEO of UHealth, and Joe Natoli, senior vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer.
Marcelo Radice, executive director of UM Innovation and of the park, said the university invited Bush to the development to witness the realization of his vision for the state.
“The Life Science & Technology Park is the culmination of his vision to transform Florida’s economy through the sciences and technology, and UM is leading the way,” Radice said.
The first of five buildings planned for 8.8 acres at NW Seventh Avenue and 20th Street is scheduled to open in June with 252,000 square feet of space. The university is leasing 80,000 square feet of that space from the project developer, Wexford Miami LLC, for offices, labs and the Miller School’s tissue bank, the only university-operated tissue bank in the nation.
The building also will house the UM Innovation Center, designed with lab-ready suites and amenities for start-up companies, as well as an International Soft Landing Center for companies looking to establish business in the Americas.
Surrounded by six hospitals and fueled by the University’s advanced research, the Life Science Park eventually will encompass up to 2 million square feet, transforming one of the state’s most concentrated centers for healthcare activity into a global research mecca.
“South Florida is destined to become a world hub for emerging technologies and medical breakthroughs,’’ said James R. Berens, Wexford president. “The UM Life Science & Technology Park will generate quality jobs, provide new business opportunities and spur significant investment in the region, opening the door to an exciting new future.”