Huntsville, Ala. – Gov. Bob Riley joined representatives from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology today for ground breaking ceremonies at the Institute’s building site in Cummings Research Park. The four-story, 270,000 square foot building will house up to 900 employees and is due for completion in mid-2007. The facility will contain state-of-the-art laboratories for biotechnology research and development in the areas of genetics and personalized medicine. In addition, space will be allocated for high school and college-level outreach and training programs.
“When I ran for Governor, I said we could propel Alabama’s economy forward by leveraging state dollars to attract biotechnology research,” commented Gov. Riley. “That’s exactly what we’ve done. Today, we’re positioning Alabama to be a national leader in biotech, which opens up new opportunities like never before seen in our state. The hundreds of jobs this project will create are high-wage jobs that won’t be exported overseas.”
Six local biotechnology companies have already committed to leasing space within HudsonAlpha, and additional companies are being recruited to locate on the campus. The six companies planning to lease space include local startups Open Biosystems, Genaco Biomedical Products, Applied Genomics, Inc., Expression Genetics, New Century Pharmaceuticals and SourceCF. Nektar Pharmaceuticals has an existing building that will be adjacent to the new HudsonAlpha campus. In addition, Operon Biotechnologies, Inc. will be relocating its headquarters from Maryland to Huntsville and plans to build a facility on the HudsonAlpha campus.
The ground breaking was attended by officials from across North Alabama, including representatives of the six biotechnology firms planning to lease from the Institute. Brian Pollock, CEO of Open Biosystems was enthusiastic about HudsonAlpha: “The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology offers us a unique opportunity to work in close proximity with top researchers and other growing companies in related fields. We expect productive collaborations and new product ideas to emerge.”
“This community is known for its creativity and innovation. I have no doubt the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will greatly contribute to that reputation,” noted Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer.
Representative Bud Cramer, long time supporter of the institute, commented “I would like to congratulate Jim Hudson and his team on this phase of the development of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. I am excited about the potential the Institute holds for our community. It will not only be a welcomed addition to our strong scientific and research community already in place throughout North Alabama, but could also be an engine for future economic development and growth across the Tennessee Valley. I believe that our community is an ideal place for this kind of endeavor and I’m proud to have been able to help Jim make the Institute a reality.”
The mission of HudsonAlpha is to use biotechnology to improve human health, stimulate economic development and inspire Alabama’s youth to seek careers in science.
Jim Hudson, President of HudsonAlpha, is excited about the progress the Institute has already made. “The groundbreaking today marks the first physical phase of our development, but much work has already been done behind the scenes,” he said. “With an exemplary board of directors, outstanding scientific advisory board, a distinguished HudsonAlpha Investigator, and our first research fellow in place, research and plans for the future are already underway.”
The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology was founded in 2005 to pursue the objective of developing and using biotechnology for personalized medicine, while creating economic growth and inspiring Alabama’s youth to pursue careers in science. HudsonAlpha will foster cooperation between its scientific research staff and biotechnology companies to shorten the time between the development in the lab of new and promising technologies and their availability for application in the clinic.