Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Burnham Institute for Medical Research to Establish Major Research Facility in Orlando, Florida

LA JOLLA, Calif. , August 23, 2006

The Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham), a California-based, non-profit medical research institute, announced today its intention to establish a major research facility in Orlando, Florida, which will provide the organization with bicoastal operations.

The Burnham will develop its Florida site through a unique partnership with the State of Florida, Orange County, the City of Orlando, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the Tavistock Group, and Florida’s philanthropic community.

“We are enormously grateful to the people of Florida for their generous support of our medical research efforts and to Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida State Legislature for their vision”, said Dr. John Reed, President & CEO of Burnham Institute for Medical Research. “By providing the financial means for our expansion into Florida, together with increased investments in its public universities, the State’s leadership is laying a superb foundation for growth of biotechnology in Florida. This exceptional partnership will allow us to drive our scientific discoveries more rapidly toward clinical proof of concept, narrowing the gap between discovery and the development of new ways of detecting, treating, curing, and ultimately preventing diseases.”

"The expansion of the Burnham Institute’s world-class biomedical research operations into Florida illustrates the strength of the state’s international reputation as a hub for cutting edge biomedical research and development, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to Florida,” said Governor Bush. “Burnham and its state of the art research facilities will have a significant impact not just on the local economy, but within the state’s overall life sciences sector. Equally important are the biomedical discoveries that will emanate from Burnham, as they go about the work of devising proto-type therapies and conducting translational research. Many factors played a role in recruiting Burnham, and I congratulate and thank all those involved in securing this project for the Sunshine State.”

“Expansion into Florida is a transforming event for our organization,” said Nicolas Nierenberg, Chairman of the Board, Burnham Institute for Medical Research. “Florida has made a huge commitment to the Burnham, for which we are deeply grateful. We were overwhelmed by the show of support for bringing Burnham to Florida. I especially wish to thank our new partners in the Orlando community--Mayor Buddy Dyer of the City of Orlando, The Orlando City Council, Mayor Rich Crotty of Orange County, The Orange County Board of County Commissioners, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, and Rasesh Thakkar, CEO of the Tavistock Group.”

Burnham plans to build a 300-person operation in Orlando. Goals for Florida are expected to include expansion of the organization’s capabilities in chemistry, pharmacology, and functional genomics, themes that will complement and fortify the Institute’s current commitments to cancer, degenerative diseases, and infectious diseases, and which will allow expansion into other areas such as diabetes and obesity research.

“We are excited about developing robust collaborations with Florida’s strong academic institutions,” said Reed. “One of the attractions for our organization in expanding operations to Florida was the tremendous support and encouragement we received from Florida’s universities. In particular, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida provided strong incentives, including adjunct faculty positions for many of the scientists we recruit to Orlando. We anticipate a synergistic effect on our existing and future research as a result of these opportunities for collaborative research.”

Burnham will continue to develop new research initiatives at its current site in La Jolla, California, where it plans to grow from 750 to 900 employees over the next five years.

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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