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Groundbreaking at Lake Nona Marks Breakthrough in Orlando Biotech Industry

ORLANDO, Fla. , October 1, 2007

On Wednesday, October 3, a groundbreaking celebration to commemorate the beginning of a new economic era in Orlando will be held at Lake Nona, as Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham Institute) and the UCF College of Medicine break ground at the region’s emerging life sciences cluster.

Hosted on-site at Lake Nona’s 600-acre Science & Technology Park, the event will include a speaking agenda featuring City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, UCF President Dr. John C. Hitt, UCF College of Medicine Dean Dr. Deborah German, President and CEO, Professor and Donald Bren Presidential Chair of Burnham Institute Dr. John Reed, and Senior Managing Director of the Tavistock Group Rasesh Thakkar. State, city and county officials will also be present.

Burnham Institute and the UCF College of Medicine will serve as cornerstone elements of the budding cluster, which, when complete, is projected to have a potential economic impact of billions of dollars and generate thousands of jobs in the next ten years, according to a Milken Institute study. Lake Nona’s Science & Technology Park is also the preferred site for the Orlando Veterans Affairs Hospital and the Nemours Orlando Children’s Hospital and Research Campus.

In early March, Burnham Institute finalized agreements with Orange County and the City of Orlando to aid the San Diego-based, non-profit medical research institute in opening its east coast research facility at Lake Nona. Burnham, which has contributed to the development of new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer, expects to bring in 250-300 scientists and support staff to the region over the next 7-10 years.

Burnham Institute’s 175,000 square-foot building will be comprised of two major structures—a two-story administrative wing and a three-story research wing, which will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification. Burnham Institute is temporarily headquartered at Florida’s Blood Centers until the permanent facility is completed in 2009.

The State of Florida, Orange County, the City of Orlando, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Walt Disney World Resort, Central Florida’s philanthropic community, Tavistock Group and the Tavistock Foundation all came together through unprecedented collaboration to bring the Burnham Institute to Orlando.

The University of Central Florida College of Medicine was established in 2006 by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Board of Governors to increase opportunities for medical education in Florida, address the growing physician shortage nationwide and provide economic benefits to Central Florida and the state.

The college expects to enroll an initial class of 40 students and eventually produce about 120 medical graduates each year. The four-year medical program will capitalize on UCF’s existing strengths in biomedical sciences, modeling and simulation, and optics and photonics. Other programs in materials science, psychology, chemistry, film and digital media, and nursing will support the program.

The UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona will initially be comprised of two separate buildings, a five-story 195,000 square-foot Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building and a four-story 173,000 square-foot College of Medicine building including a state-of-the-art medical library.

The university has raised $113 million to build the facility at Lake Nona and has embarked on an unprecedented and ambitious scholarship campaign to fund studies for the entire inaugural class of students. Approximately $2.4 million (38 percent) of a goal of $6.4 million has been raised to date. The money would enable 40 students to be fully funded throughout medical school. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, UCF would be the first U.S. school of medicine to make such an offer.

The Tavistock Group, a private investment company and owner of Lake Nona contributed in excess of $30 million in cash and 100 acres of land, for a total contribution in excess of $65 million towards the UCF College of Medicine and the Burnham Institutes campuses.

The private groundbreaking celebration will take place on-site at Lake Nona’s Science & Technology Park, located at the intersection of SR 417 and Lake Nona Boulevard in southeast Orlando. Guests are expected to arrive at 9:00 a.m., with the speaking agenda and turning of dirt beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m.

For more information visit Lake Nona’s online newsroom at

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

Sanford-Burnham can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter @sanfordburnham.

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