Florida Hospital would invest $100M in Lake Nona’s Sanford Burnham

and Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center have joined forces to compete with the University of Central Florida for an asset transfer agreement of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona.

Hospital has robust research programs and a commitment to collaboration with top-quality research and biopharma organizations. As a long-time research partner through the Translational Research Institute, Florida Hospital has the experience to leverage the investment that has been made in Sanford Burnham Prebys scientific infrastructure. For these reasons we have engaged with them in discussions to steward the medical research enterprise at Lake Nona into the next phase of operation,” showed documents provided by Sanford Burnham to  Journal.

Florida Hospital essentially would turn the 175,000-square-foot facility that’s winding down operations into a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, which would be a first in Central Florida.

“Our proposal represents a tremendous opportunity to advance cancer care and research in the state of Florida. Florida Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center are the top two providers of cancer care in the state. Bringing together these two organizations will accelerate the pace of advancements, bringing both hope and life-saving treatments to Central Florida more quickly,” Steven Smith, Florida Hospital senior vice president and chief scientific officer, said in a prepared statement.

The implementation of the designed plan focuses on five core programs that will be modeled on the existing Phase I program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and include:

  • Basic and translational research: It will allow the hospital to create new methods of care in a research environment and attract biotechnology and biopharmaceutical investments.
  • Precision medicine research clinic: It would convert 10,000 square feet of renovated space for cancer patients, who are at the highest risk of progression or poor response to therapy, to enroll into clinical research protocols.
  • Phase 1 clinical research: It would be a clinical care unit providing access to breakthrough treatments through Phase I clinical trials and research protocols not currently available in Central Florida.
  • Drug discovery: This will bring basic, translational and clinical research at the site to accelerate the discovery-to-treatment process and bring new therapies to patients.
  • A stem cell laboratory: That will have immunotherapy technology to fight against leukemia.

Renovations would begin this year: Upgrades for the stem cell program would take nine months to complete, and renovations for the precision medicine and Phase 1 clinical research programs would take roughly a year to finish.

Florida Hospital estimates the proposed strategy will create at least 205 private sector jobs by the fifth year, and 315 jobs over 10 years. The average base salary of jobs created will be $84,946. Included in the job numbers are 50 of the Sanford Burnham employees who are trained in drug discovery. In addition, eight contracted technical staff members would be retained.

Meanwhile, also wants to turn the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute into a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Its plan would result in 300-plus high-wage jobs and include more than $85 million in private investment. Read more on UCF’s plan here.

Both Florida Hospital and UCF will present their proposals to the Orange County Commission on Jan. 23.