TPIMS Becomes First Life Sciences Organization Attracted to Florida to Open its Doors, with Ceremonies at 103,000-Square-Foot Facility
Port St. Lucie, FL (Vocus) February 2, 2009 -- More than 200 community, government and science leaders celebrated the grand opening of the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies' (TPIMS) headquarters in the Florida Center for Innovation at Tradition research campus, making it the first of several major life sciences organizations attracted to Florida to open its facilities.
TPIMS Founder and President Richard Houghten, Ph.D., marked the official opening of the 103,000-square-foot, LEED-certified headquarters by leading scientists and staff in a rousing "Thank You" to leaders throughout the community that made the organization's expansion into Florida possible.
The Institute - which pursues innovative research that leads to the understanding and treatment of major medical conditions - was attracted to the state through incentives from the Florida Innovation Fund, the City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, Core Communities, Florida Atlantic University and the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. TPIMS is now home to seven principal investigators and 30 support staff, and is expected to employ nearly 200 people by 2016.
"We would never have gotten to this point were it not for the leadership of people like Florida Senator Ken Pruitt and former Governor Jeb Bush, and for the kindness shown to us and our families by the people of this community," said Houghten. "On behalf of all our scientists, staff and board members here, in San Diego and throughout the country, I thank you."
Said Pruitt, who served as keynote speaker, "It is we who should be giving thanks to Dr. Houghten, his wife, and his team of scientists for making Florida their home. That decision put Florida's Research Coast on the map as a life sciences destination, and is already creating opportunities for high-wage employment in our community."
As a special thank you to the legislative leader who was essential in TPIMS' decision to locate in Port St. Lucie, Houghten and his wife, Pam, announced a personal commitment to create the Torrey Pines Ken Pruitt Jr. Florida Visionary Scholarship, named for Sen. Pruitt's late son. Each year, the scholarship will be awarded through the St. Lucie Education Foundation to a deserving St. Lucie County student who seeks to pursue studies in science.
"I am tremendously excited about what this day means to Florida's bright future," said Florida Governor Charlie Crist. "The hard work and dedication that the team at the Torrey Pines Institute has shown is inspirational to all."
In a personal letter to Houghten, former Governor Jeb Bush, who was unable to attend the event, said: "if an angel landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear 'what wish would you want to come true for Florida?' I would answer, 'sprinkle the Dr. Houghtens of the world throughout Florida and let them go to work creating, innovating and discovering.'"
Additional honorees in attendance included Port St. Lucie Mayor Pat Christensen, St. Lucie County Commission Chair Paula Lewis, Core Communities Chairman Pete Hegener and EDC of St. Lucie County President Larry Pelton, and representatives of U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez.
Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies is a 501(c)(3) research center dedicated to conducting basic research to advance the understanding of human disease and the improvement of human health. Scientists at the institute conduct research in fields associated with a wide variety of major medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, Types 1 and 2 diabetes, pain, inflammation, AIDS and other infectious diseases, transplant rejection and rheumatoid arthritis. For more information, visit www.tpims.org.
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