The Tradition Center for Innovation (TCI) and the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) Florida today announced the grand opening of a new, 100,000 square foot facility within TCI’s 150-acre research park located in the planned community of Tradition in Port St. Lucie. Since breaking ground in 2006, TCI has attracted world-class research institutes and healthcare facilities making it one of the fastest growing immunology research hubs in the country.

Mel Rothberg, Co-Chief Operating Officer, welcomed more than 250 guests to mark the  official opening of the non-profit Institute’s nine major labs where scientists will conduct research to identify treatments and therapies to help the human immune system fight cancer, infectious and chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS and arthritis.

Pascal Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, delivered the keynote address.

As a pioneer in translating scientific discoveries into the clinic, VGTI Florida brings a wealth of knowledge and prestige to TCI’s rapidly expanding biocluster. The facility, which is mainly composed of scientific space, resides next to the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies. Together, the two anchor members have collaborated efforts to take their discoveries from the bench to bedside with the help of fellow anchor member, Martin Health System’s nationally recognized clinical program.

“Having the opportunity to expand our portfolio and work alongside leading institutes, such as Torrey Pines, solidified our decision to expand to Florida and house our new facility at TCI,” said VGTI CEO, Mel Rothberg. “We are thankful for the support from our fellow anchor members at TCI and the city of Port St. Lucie and look forward to being a part of the community.”

Since TCI’s first anchor member, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, expanded its San Diego—based facility to Tradition in 2006, TCI has brought an estimated 170 new jobs to the community and created an estimated 1,000 construction jobs. In addition, business service companies that provide life science products such as cylinder gas, biological reagents, gowning, IT, office furniture, scientific equipment and others, have all seen tremendous increases in sales.

“Each and every one of TCI’s anchor members have played a pivotal role in the development of this park,” said Andrew Favata, Vice President of Mann Research Center. “The opening of VGTI’s Florida facility further demonstrates TCI’s position as one of the only bioclusters focused on translating immunology and cancer research.”

Other speakers included Jay A. Nelson, Ph.D.,  Executive Director and Vice President, VGTI Florida; Joe Robertson, Ph.D. , President Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU); Daniel Dorsa, Ph.D., Vice-President, Research, OHSU and President, Board of Directors, VGTI Florida; Larry Pelton, President, Economic Development Council, St. Lucie County; JoAnn M. Faiella, Mayor of Port St. Lucie; Ken Pruitt, St. Lucie County Property Appraiser; Richard Houghton, Ph. D., Founder and President, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies; Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Co-Director and Chief Scientific Officer, VGTI Florida.

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