The Jackson Laboratory One Step Closer to Southwest Florida

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The Jackson Laboratory, an independent, nonprofit genetics research firm, plans to expand to Southwest Florida with help from state funding. The new facility is projected to create between 200 and 250 jobs for the area.

In May, the Florida legislature voted to approve the state's budget, which included a $50-million appropriation for the Innovation Incentive Program – part of a three-year, $130-million commitment to establish a branch of The Jackson Laboratory in Collier County, one of the five counties that make up the new Southwest Florida region.

The Jackson Laboratory, an independent, nonprofit genetics research firm, currently has 1,400 employees located in Bar Harbor, Maine, and in Sacramento, California. The expectations are that the Florida project will create 200 to 250 new jobs in Southwest Florida – specifically in the greater Naples area of Collier County – over the next several years.

The company’s President and CEO, Rick Woychik, Ph.D., called the state’s funding “an important first step” in advancing the development of a branch of The Jackson Laboratory in Southwest Florida. However, in order to proceed, the project also requires institutional partnerships in Southwest Florida, matching funds from Collier County and approval by The Jackson Laboratory’s Board of Trustees.

Based in Maine, the new Southwest Florida facility would be the company’s first expansion since the opening of The Jackson Laboratory-West in Sacramento in 2001. Since then, that facility has moved to larger quarters and now has more than 100 employees. During the same period, the Laboratory’s headquarters in Bar Harbor added nearly 300 new jobs, and officials there expect to add approximately 200 more during the next 5-10 years.

Plans for The Jackson Laboratory’s new Southwest Florida facility call for about 200 employees. Working in collaboration with their colleagues in Maine, scientists in Southwest Florida would investigate the genetic basis of such diseases as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's, along with the foundations and stages of human development and aging.

Business leaders and economic planners from throughout Southwest Florida already foresee The Jackson Laboratory’s new facility in Collier County lighting the way for an even larger research and education community – one that has already begun to spark the Southwest Florida economy. And members of the new Southwest Florida Economic Development Partnership are excited about the business it will bring to their five-county region.

The Southwest Florida Economic Development Partnership is made up of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Lee and Sarasota counties, all of which have come together to put the economic well-being of the Southwest Florida region front and center. The focus of the partnership is the recruitment, retention and creation of high-wage jobs in targeted industries, such as high-tech, health, life and environmental sciences, information technology, and specialty manufacturing. For more information, visit the Southwest Florida website at ABrighterPlace.com.

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Laura Richeson
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