UCSD Proposes Innovator Space as Entrepreneurial Life Sciences Hub

3/23/12Follow @bvbigelow

Officials at UC San Diego are seeking to build a new “Center for Innovative Therapeutics” that would serve as a hub for a variety of academic research collaborations, as well as an incubator for accelerating private life sciences startups.

University officials described their proposal for the first time at the end of an annual cancer symposium held yesterday at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. They said they plan to present their plans for the project, which carries an estimated $110 million pricetag, to the University of California Regents in May.

About half of the three-story, 110,000-square-foot facility would be made available for private life sciences startups, according to Thomas Kipps, interim director of the Moores Cancer Center. The center, which Kipps calls “the innovator space,” would be affiliated with Moores. The UCSD proposal calls for building the facility on a 6.3-acre lot between the Moores Cancer Center and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology that is part of the UC San Diego Science Research Park.

Kipps says funding for the project already has been secured from “UC century bonds.” The University of California sold an $860 million taxable bond offering last month. The 100-year bonds yield 4.858 percent, or slightly more than 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds. If regents approve the project, UCSD could move forward quickly on design and construction. The project is tentatively slated for completion in mid-2015.

Kipps says the project was conceived less than a year ago during a meeting with UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “We wanted to see if we could develop something that was similar to an incubator she had done at [North Carolina State University] that was very successful,” Kipps says. (Fox was the first female chancellor of the Raleigh, NC, campus before she was named to head UCSD in 2004.) The proposal quickly drew two dozen “letters of interest” from local biotechs, pharmaceutical companies, and contract research organizations (CRO) that support the idea, including a CRO that wants to come in as an anchor tenant, Kipps says.

Kipps and Fox presented the plan to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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