Gov. Doyle: Announces December opening of Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

Contacts: Laura Smith, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608-267-9661

Project is Centerpiece of Governor’s Goal of Capturing 10 Percent of Stem Cell Market; Research Powerhouse to Foster Innovation and Commercialization

CHICAGO – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that the public-private Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will open its doors in December 2010. Governor Doyle first proposed the Institutes for Discovery in 2004 as part of an overall statewide strategy to cement Wisconsin’s status as a national leader in biotechnology, health sciences and stem cell research, and stimulate the economy. The Governor made the announcement at the BIO 2010 International Convention – the world’s largest biotech conference – being held May 3-6 in Chicago.

“Wisconsin has established a worldwide reputation for excellence in biotechnology research, development and commercialization.” Governor Doyle said. “The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will bring together the brightest researchers in nanotechnology, biotechnology, engineering and information technology in a public-private partnership to embark on cutting-edge research and create good-paying jobs.”

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will houses three entities under one roof – UW-Madison’s public Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, the private nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research, and a main floor Town Center designed to foster interactions among scientists, students, entrepreneurs and businesses that will engage the public in science. All three entities share a vision of accelerating knowledge to improve human health and well-being.

UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery is led by interim director and former UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley. Its initial research themes are: engineering cell-scale scaffolds for tissue re-growth in the body; improving home health care living environments; creating optimization models to improve techniques in biology and medicine; exploring epigenetics, the mechanism that controls gene activation and how it may predispose people to certain diseases; and understanding how interactions among the human body’s microorganisms may be related to their continued survival or demise.

The Morgridge Institute, led by Executive Director Dr. Sangtae “Sang” Kim, has assembled a world-class scientific team, including stem cell research pioneer Dr. James Thomson and TomoTherapy co-founder T. Rock Mackie, to further enhance the scientific strengths of the university. The biomedical organization is focused on accelerating the progress of moving research discovery to public delivery. It applies a laser-sharp focus to discoveries that offer the greatest potential to address large-scale health problems. Its initial research challenge areas are: virology, medical devices, stem cells, pharmaceutical informatics, and health education.

The facility has been designed to prompt interpersonal interactions among researchers of various disciplines to facilitate collaborations that result in breakthrough discoveries.

The 300,000-square-foot building located on the 1300 block of University Avenue on the UW-Madison campus is the first research facility on campus designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for “green” building practices. It is being built to use 50-percent less energy and water than the typical laboratory facility at UW-Madison.

Other environmentally-friendly features include:

* A geothermal well system

* Reduced air change rates

* Daylight harvesting

* Solar hot-water heating

* Storm flow irrigation

* Sustainable materials and building finishes

* High-efficiency lighting, water flow fixtures and HVAC systems

The financing for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery included a $50 million gift from UW alumni John and Tashia Morgridge – the largest ever to benefit the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Morgridge gift will be matched by $50 million from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and $50 million from the State of Wisconsin.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has vastly expanded the state’s investment in regenerative medicine and stem cell technologies with a goal to capture 10 percent of the market by 2015. The Governor launched a $750 million initiative to develop stem cell research and biotechnology in Wisconsin – with the construction of the Institutes for Discovery as the centerpiece of this effort.