Max Planck Institute opens: Biomedical research industry an economic boon to South Florida

Along with Scripps Institute, millions generated

JUPITER, Fla. - In a week that brought the World Stem Cell Summit to West Palm Beach and the Max Planck Florida Institute to Jupiter, business and government leaders hailed the biomedical research industry as an economic boon to South Florida.

A part of a growing field, The Scripps Research Institute has created 440 jobs since it opened its doors in Jupiter in 2009.

Max Planck opened its first North American venture next to Scripps on Wednesday with a staff of 90 and a promise to double it by 2015.

Together, the two companies were expected to generate more than $2 billion into the local economy over the next two decades.

"The fact is this is the new hotbed of technology," said Bernard Siegel, a co-founder of the World Stem Cell Summit. "We bring so much of the global community and industry into the community. This puts this region on a global platform."

In the early 2000s, former Governor Jeb Bush pushed for scientific research and offered more than $1 billion of incentives to lure researchers to Florida.

"In many cases we're not necessarily looking for a cure, but we're trying to give a better quality of life to patients," said Donald Phinney, a professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps Florida. "[They are] small steps [and] small advances that eventually will lead to cures of diseases."

According to some estimates, another 1,000 indirect jobs could be created in South Florida as Scripps and Max Planck expand their institutes and new research institutes are founded.

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