EDA AUTHORIZES FIRST FUNDS FROM $270 MILLION DESIGNATED FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH FACILITIES
TRENTON, N.J. (June 12, 2007) – Supporting Governor Jon S. Corzine’s strategy for encouraging scientific innovation and discovery, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) took another step forward today to strengthen the state’s position as the nation’s leader in building stem cell research facilities when it approved nearly $9.2 million in predevelopment funding for the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick.
The funds are the first to be approved from the $270 million authorized under legislation signed by Governor Corzine in December to build stem cell research centers and facilities for cancer and biomedical research in New Jersey. The Stem Cell Institute will receive $150 million of the total amount authorized.
The Stem Cell Institute is a collaborative effort of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University that will be developed by the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO).
Funding for stem cell facilities is advancing the mission of the Edison Innovation Fund, a key element of Governor Corzine’s Economic Growth Strategy. The fund was created to support technology and life sciences companies throughout their discovery, development and commercialization stages. The EDA, in consultation with the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, is responsible for managing the $150-million fund, which will leverage $350 million in private capital.
The Stem Cell Institute will be developed as part of a 16-story university research tower on Little Albany Street adjacent to the Amtrak Northeast Corridor elevated rail line. The site, currently a surface parking lot, is owned by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and RWJ Property Holding Corp., which have entered into a letter of intent to ground lease the site to DEVCO for the development of a nine-story parking deck along with two floors for the Cardiovascular Institute and five floors for the Stem Cell Institute. The predevelopment funds will enable the New Brunswick project to move forward with design, engineering and other preconstruction requirements.
To ensure that funds are used in accordance with the legislation, the EDA has instituted a two-step application and review process with one application required for predevelopment funds and another for funding.
“The predevelopment funds are intended to allow projects to progress to the next phase of development and to assist them in completion of the full and final application,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Caren S. Franzini. “The full application will require projects to submit an operational plan and complete construction budget as required by the legislation.”
The Stem Cell Institute will recruit top-level faculty to carry out research, training and clinical studies on the application of stem cells to the treatment and cure of human disease, building on the existing strengths of both UMDNJ and Rutgers in the areas of stem cell biology, development, and cell and molecular biology to create a critical mass of scientists and clinicians. The facility will serve as a resource for other collaborating investigators throughout New Jersey and as a magnet for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies focused on the use of stem cells in disease therapy.
Also approved for state funding under the legislation were: stem cell research facilities at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark ($50 million); a biomedical research center in Camden that will be operated by a consortium that includes Rutgers, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey ($50 million); the Garden State Cancer Center in Belleville ($10 million), and the Eli Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program in Allendale ($10 million).
The EDA is an independent, self-sustaining state financing and development agency that works to promote economic growth, job creation and the revitalization of New Jersey’s communities with financing assistance, technical support and entrepreneurial training, and real estate development activities.