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University of Florida to pay $100 to acquire Scripps Florida assets

The integration also includes the university receiving $102.4 million in cash on hand, including for ongoing projects
Scripps Research
Posted at 7:53 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 20:50:57-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For just $100, the University Florida will acquire Scripps Research Florida's assets, including three buildings in Jupiter, 70 acres of vacant land, and other assets and liabilities upon the integration of the nonprofit's biomedical operation with the state university's academic health center's research operation next month.

In 2003, the state of Florida paid California-based Scripps $310 million for a campus adjacent to Florida Atlantic University in Abacoa to entice biotech firms. Palm Beach County added $269 million.

On Nov. 16, announced the merger that pairs private and public institutions. In July, the two institutions announced they were in talks to merge.

Details of the transfer are spelled out in an Asset Transfer Agreement shows. UF provided the agreement to in response to a public records request, and WPTV also eceived the 59-page agreement.

According to the document, the sale is to be completed by Jan. 18.

As part of the agreement, Scripps will give UF $102.4 million in cash on hand, most of it committed to ongoing projects, minus $3 million for transition costs.

The 500 employees will become members of UF Health Science Center, known as UF Health.

The university can use the Scripps name.

"As of the Closing, UF may adopt a name for the Institute that incorporates 'Scripps' in combination with a recognized name of UF in a form acceptable to, and subject to the final approval of TSRI, at no cost and subject to a mutually agreeable trademark license agreement to be entered into by the Parties at the Closing," the agreement reads.

A Scripps Research Institute graduate student program will continue on the Florida campus at least through the end of the current accreditation period in 2030. The program has included faculty from campuses in Florida and La Jolla, Calif.,

In August, county and West Palm Beach officials announced they're in talks with University of Florida leaders to build a campus for graduate students somewhere in the city.

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James said officials have identified 12 to 14 acres of city, county, and privately-owned land near downtown West Palm Beach that could potentially serve as a site for graduate colleges of engineering and business, as well as student housing.

With Scripps expanding, Palm Beach County bought 70 acres of vacant land for $70 million across from Scripps in Palm Beach Gardens with an intention of developing a "biotech village."

Palm Beach County also spent more than $100 million to develop the Mecca Farms site, which in 2013 it sold to the South Florida Water District for $26 million, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Then Gov. Jeb Bush had envisioned 50,000 jobs in 15 years. Though the goal has not been met, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience later came to Jupiter.

“Florida supported us in establishing a world-class institute, and Scripps Florida together with UF, as part of the greater Florida research and education community, will have a tremendous impact on scientific research and human health," Dr. Peter Schultz, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Scripps Research, based in La Jolla, Calif., said in November.

Areas of collaboration: cancer; drug discovery; immunology and infectious disease; neuroscience, including Alzheimer’s and other aging-related diseases, as well as autism, HIV/AIDS, and structural biology and molecular medicine.

Scripps Florida researchers' discoveries have led to several hundred patents and numerous spinoff companies.

UF already has had research collaborations with Scripps.

“We are excited to work collaboratively with our colleagues at Scripps to rapidly take discoveries made at the bench to the bedside, where they can have the most benefit to humanity,” said Dr. David R. Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, the university’s academic health center. “We are looking forward to cultivating a culture of innovation that will extend from the outstanding science already underway.”

UF and UF Health have committed to work with Scripps Florida leadership over the next five years to hire additional faculty in Jupiter.

Scripps has received nearly $50 million in National Institute of Health funding and over $67 million in total research funding, which includes industry support.

UF has spent $942 million in research expenditures during the past fiscal year, including $143 million in NIH grants, which is tops in the state.