The announcement made by Scripps Research Institute that it has selected Palm Beach County for its new eastern U.S. facility has generated worldwide interest in the region’s robust business environment (Business). It will be a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility in Palm Beach County, which will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development, employing more than 500 researchers and support staff by 2010 (West Palm Beach Philanthropist…).
According to the president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, the world’s leading biomedical research facilities known as, Scripps Research Institute has the potential to invigorate the county’s entire economy (Business)
According to Florida Atlantic University President, Frank Brogan, Florida can twist its economy from agriculture and tourism to high-tech for which this is a precursor to a significant increase in high-tech fortunes for the state (King).
Palm Beach County has a high quality of life that fuels economic development. It offers the benefits of a fast-growing population, a skilled workforce, convenient location, effective multimodal transportation network and a pro-business entrepreneurial climate which is conducive for living and/or working environment.
Considering financial advantages of doing business in Palm Beach County would include a favorable tax structure and numerous training and incentive programs. Florida has no state income tax and a low corporate tax structure. The county’s property tax rate is one of the lowest in the state. In addition, Palm Beach County is one of only three counties in Florida awarded double “A” ratings by major bond rating agencies.
Palm Beach County has successfully several leading sectors for continued growth such as: Medical/Pharmaceutical/Health Care, Aerospace and Engineering, Communications and Information Technology, Business, Financial and Headquarters Services, Agribusiness, and Tourism/Recreation/Entertainment. With these, the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches is working closely with municipalities, as well as county and state governments to meet the needs of individual companies.
Numerous economic development incentives are available, including grants for creating new jobs, tax relief and training subsidies. The county’s foreign trade zones and enterprise zones offer additional incentives to manufacturing and service companies. In addition, Palm Beach County also offers relocating and expanding businesses and facilities for new offices, warehouses, shopping centers and residential developments. Since construction is one of the county’s major industries, businesses can use the expertise of area developers, architects, engineers, contractors and related industries.
Key Industries at Palm Beach
Agriculture. Palm Beach County, which is considered as the largest agricultural county in Florida and the eighth largest in the United States, is a vital contributor to the region’s economy in the industry of agriculture. Whereby, more than 500,000 acres are dedicated to agricultural production in the EAA, and Palm Beach County is one of the nation’s leading producers of cane sugar and sweet corn.
Communications. Newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, and online services are all part of the county’s thriving communications sector. Further, the Palm Beach Post had been a vital part of the community – both for readers and advertising customers.
Engineering. Land planning and engineering firms plays an essential role in guiding Palm Beach County’s commercial and residential growth.
Financial Services. Palm Beach County’s strong financial services sector includes some of the most respected names in the banking, insurance and investment industries such as:
Wachovia Corporation having 85 financial centers that strives to build a strong and vibrant community by providing employee volunteer programs and financial support for education, the arts and culture, affordable housing, economic development and other community needs.
Washington Mutual is a leading retailer of financial services and provides a variety of diversified products and services for consumers and small businesses by providing grants and other support for programs that impact the areas that matter most to its customers: affordable housing and K-12 public education.
Health Care. Palm Beach County has one of the finest health care systems in the state, providing convenient access and medical services to all residents. In addition to award winning, strategically located hospitals, excellent physicians, therapists and other providers are available throughout the region.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is a 460-bed, founded in 1938 is an acute care hospital that provides medical, surgical, obstetrical, oncology, pediatric, trauma and emergency services to the greater West Palm Beach area. Special services include a level III neonatal intensive care unit, a 24-hour children’s emergency department, a pediatric intensive care unit, a high-risk obstetrical unit, The Rehabilitation Institute, The Child Development Center, and the Memory Disorders Center.
In addition, the established four-story, 81-bed pavilion Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation at St. Mary’s Medical Center, supports pediatric care in the area.
Good Samaritan Medical Center, a 341-bed acute care hospital in West Palm Beach, has been serving the medical needs of Palm Beach County for more than 80 years. In addition to general medical services, it offers a broad range of specialty services, including oncology, orthopedics, obstetrics and cardiac medicine.
Moreover, the hospital provides cancer services in the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Institute, featuring the Miles M. Zisson Comprehensive Breast Center and the Ruth C. Heede Gamma Knife Center. For the discerning patient, the hospital offers the Walter Newbern Suites, an all-private, upscale unit that combines quality medical care with personal comfort.
Columbia Hospital which was established in 1975 is a highly respected 250-bed hospital in West Palm Beach delivering quality, compassionate, and cost-effective healthcare that is responsive to the needs of patients, physicians, and the community. In addition, Columbia Hospital is a primary teaching affiliate of Nova Southeastern University and a founding member of the Consortium for Excellence in Medical Education.
Columbia’s $23 million renovation project, completed in 2004, gave the hospital a new exterior look with updated architectural finishes and new hurricane-proof windows. Renovated nurses stations, patient rooms, and new equipment
Having been completed with its renovation in 2004, it provides more advanced and efficient patient care. It has introduced an interactive Internet program, H2U Health Map, at www.columbiahospital.com and has launched a wellness membership program in 2005.
JFK Medical Center in Atlantis was founded in 1966 as a not-for-profit community hospital with 150 beds, and which has recently completed it $76 million expansion program for which patients could enjoy enhanced privacy in larger rooms that can accommodate family members as need. It is a leader in the delivery of quality cost-effective health care in South Florida.
Jupiter Medical Center is a not-for-profit, comprehensive healthcare campus that opened in Jupiter in 1979, and now employs more than 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff.
Jupiter Medical Center’s 25-year reputation for providing the highest levels of excellence in clinical care is frequently the first and often the only facility in the area that offers many of the latest clinical trials, procedures and care enhancements.
Manufacturing. A skilled workforce and convenient global transportation facilities have attracted a wide range of manufacturing companies to Palm Beach County. Medical devices, software and computer components are just few of the high-tech products made, and printing and publishing, food products and communications equipment are other components of the manufacturing industry.
Tourism and Recreation. Palm Beach County is an extraordinary destination offering business and leisure travelers the very best of everything. With more than 47 miles of white sandy beaches, 150 golf courses, boating and fishing, and 200-plus hotels and resorts from Jupiter to Boca Raton, the region offers every conceivable amenity. Approximately 4.5 million domestic and international visitors come to the county annually, according to the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Having the largest number of golf courses in Florida, Palm Beach County is a premier golf destination offering top-rated public courses and world-renowned resort facilities. Other outdoor activities include a yearlong calendar of festivals and cultural events, such as SunFest, the state’s largest music, art and waterfront festival and the Marathon of the Palm Beaches.
One of the county’s most popular attractions is the Palm Beach Kennel Club Entertainment Complex, which opened its doors in 1932 and has grown into a major entertainment complex, hosting nearly 1 million visitors a year.
Along with world-class greyhound racing and simulcast horse racing, dog racing and jai alai, one of the popular attractions at the entertainment complex is poker, with patrons often lined up for the next game (Business).
The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world’s largest, private, non-profit biomedical research organizations and stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. It is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. It also employs an approximately 3,000 scientists (including three Nobel Prize recipients), postdoctoral fellows, research and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel in 14 buildings overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the northernmost neighborhood of the City of San Diego (West Palm Beach Philanthropist …).
Much of the work at Scripps Florida will be dedicated to basic biomedical research, a vital segment of medical research that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Additionally, researchers at Scripps Florida are developing cutting-edge technologies, using these tools to examine the basic biology of human health, and are applying their discoveries towards finding new and better potential treatments for a variety of devastating human diseases: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, hepatitis C, leishmaniasis, obesity, mad cow disease, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia, to name a few.
Presently, Scripps Florida is comprised of three academic departments, Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, and Infectology, and the Translational Research Institute (TRI), which consists of two primary components, Advanced Technologies and Drug Discovery. Faculty of the academic departments, engage in basic research in a wide variety of biomedical fields, while faculty in the TRI apply edge-cutting technologies to advances in basic biomedical fields, focusing on a drug discovery platform. A number of Scripps Florida faculty have joint appointments to both the TRI and academic department. It is anticipated that additional departments will be established as it continues to build academic programs in the biological and chemical sciences.
Biochemistry. Faculty in the department takes a broader view of biochemistry and are interested in understanding the workings of the human body from the most minute processes to system-level organization. Biochemistry faculty will collaborate with the TRI to utilize diverse technologies such as protein dynamics in solution, large scale genetic and chemical screens, chemical synthesis, and medicinal chemistry to develop novel therapeutic strategies for a wide range of diseases.
Cancer Biology. The Department of Cancer Biology at the Scripps Research Institute was launched to recruit faculty into the Florida campus, with close ties with faculty having cancer research interests at the La Jolla campus.
The faculty of the Department uses a battery of state-of-the-art technologies for target discovery and validation, and pre-clinical models have been developed to evaluate the efficacy of new leads in cancer prevention and therapeutics. Investigators in the Department have interests in understanding the molecular underpinnings of all of the major human malignancies, but also have interests in pediatric oncology, the interplay between cancer and the immune system, and the relationships between aging and cancer. One of the many strengths of TSRI are high-throughput technologies that allow Investigators to rapidly move forward potential leads using both genetic and small molecule screens. Collaborations with the major Cancer Centers in the State of Florida, and with TSRI cancer researchers at the California Campus, will allow leads that are identified to rapidly move forward into translational and clinical studies.
Infectology. Focuses on several infectious diseases, that include hepatitis C, leishmaniasis and prion diseases.
Translational Research Institute (TRI). Aims to identify new biochemical targets for drug development activities through high throughput screening, and to optimize and develop these leads through systematic efforts in medicinal chemistry, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacology.
To enhance this effort, Scripps Florida is recruiting outstanding professionals—including scientists who come with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The institute is also leveraging cutting-edge technologies and developing additional tools to speed the process of discovering new drugs.
The TRI consists of two primary components, Advanced Technologies and Drug Discovery, and each component is comprised of several divisions (Scientific Organization of Scripps Florida).
For the last two years, TSRI’s Graduate Studies Program was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the most outstanding in the country, based on the results of a survey sent to department heads and directors of graduate studies programs at universities throughout the country. TSRI’s overall impact in California is a sure-fire indication of the success expected in South Florida.
Companies will want to locate in and around the Scripps campus; consequently South Florida is uniquely situated to duplicate the California clustering effect. Scripps will serve as a magnet for other research organizations and laboratories attracting top-notch academics and professionals and will serve as a nucleus for university research statewide (Scripps Florida)
As research facility grows, plans are to extend outreaches not only to increase the number of internships for students and teachers, but also to broaden outreach venues. Teachers and students are selected on a competitive basis to work in partnership with world-class scientists and their staffs at the Scripps facility on the Florida Atlantic University MacArthur campus in Jupiter. The interns will work full-time for seven weeks beginning in early June.
These programs, based on similar activities at The Scripps Research Institute’s La Jolla, California, headquarters, are expected to grow in scope and participation in the coming years when Scripps Florida moves to its permanent campus in Palm Beach County.
Scripps is currently looking to bring basic ‘introduction to science’ lessons to middle school students and are discussing several options for a biotech educational initiative for high school students with the county’s science coordinator as well as educational faculty from neighboring universities (Scripps Florida Selects…)
The institute’s far greater impact, however, has been in spin-off jobs. Scripps’ presence is credited with attracting 499 biomedical and pharmaceutical companies to the San Diego area; 80 percent of those firms, are located within a three-mile (4.8-kilometer) radius of Scripps’ La Jolla complex. The 499-company cluster employs 35,000 workers with average salaries of $54,000. Whereby, if a similar scenario plays out in West Palm Beach, it would almost double the state’s biomedical industry, which now numbers some 37,000 workers.
Scripps’ California operation has also been a venture-capital magnet for which during 2000-01 (the latest period for which figures are available), San Diego attracted $3.5 billion in venture capital – compared to all of Florida’s $3 billion over that same period. In addition, Scripps has been responsible for creating 40 biotech spin-off companies in Southern California.
Significantly, the West Palm Beach center will replicate a number of the California-based operation’s economy-boosting features as well. The Florida facility, for example, will collaborate with local businesses and school districts and will establish joint degree programs with all state universities.
The institute will work particularly closely with Florida Atlantic University (FAU – home to the Florida Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology based in west Palm Beach County in Boca Raton), with which Scripps will partner to build the research center.
As in California, Scripps’ new West Palm center will also be able to award doctoral degrees and license the technology it develops to private firms (Lyne).
“West Palm Beach Philanthropist Alexander W. Dreyfoos Announces $1 Million Gift to The Scripps Research Institute”. TSRI. 5 April, 2007 http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/110804.html
“Business.” Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. 5 April, 2007
Lyne, Jack. “Scripps’ New Florida Center Will Likely Spur Thousands of Spin-Off Jobs.” Conway Data, Inc. 5 April 2007 http://www.siteselection.com/ssinsider/bbdeal/bd031013.htm
“Scripps Florida Selects 3 Palm Beach County Science Teachers and 4 High School Students for Summer Internships.” TSRI. 1 April 2007 http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/050205.html
“Scripps Florida.” 1 April 2007
King, Dale. M. “Bush paves way for Scripps to locate in Palm Beach County.”
Boca Raton News. 5 April 2007
“Clarification And Elaboration Of Palm Beach Post Story Of January 29, 2005 “Scripps Chief Sour On Village”.” 5 April 2007 http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/013105a.html
“Scientific Organization of Scripps Florida.” 1 April 2007 http://www.scripps.edu/florida/research/sciorganization.html