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barbara
03-15-2011, 02:17 PM
Can someone tell me if research is all about jobs or looking for cures or just research for the sake of research? Scripps seems to be trying to convince those that are questioning the wisdom of this project that the jobs that they promised aren't what really matters. It's the millions of dollars in royalties the state will make when their pharmaceutical developments make it to market. I though Florida already had plenty of swampland, but evidently they were ready and willing to buy a lot more.


By Howard Lovy

The Jupiter, FL branch of the Scripps Research Institute is learning the hard way that when you sell politicians on the idea of job creation, they're going to expect you to create jobs--no matter how much success you can point to in the institute's other mission: science. When Scripps Florida opened in 2009, the company's deal with the state and county required it to create 545 jobs by 2013. Scripps Vice President Harry Orf tells The Palm Beach Post that, as of now, Scripps has 400 employees at its Jupiter site.

And while that jobs deadline is still more than a year away, that just does not seem like a good return on investment for some Florida politicians. The Palm Beach Post quotes Democratic Sen. Gwen Margolis as saying that lawmakers have invested $1.5 billion in Scripps and six other biotech research centers that have created 1,100 jobs. "If it's only 1,100 jobs, it doesn't seem like it panned out too well," Margolis told The Post. "That's more than $1 million per job," Margolis added.

The Jupiter region of Florida is trying to become a center for biotechnology research. Last year, it also welcomed its own branch of the prestigious Max Planck Institute. Nobody seems to be criticizing the quality of the actual science that comes out of Scripps Florida, and that is where Orf says that lawmakers need to pay attention.

He told The Post the state stands to gain millions of dollars in royalties when Scripps pharmaceutical developments make it to market. "You are investing in innovation and discovery, and that's going to be the real driver," Orf says.

And another article on the subject:

Lawmakers tell Scripps to show them jobs that justify state's investment in its biotech research

By JOHN KENNEDY
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 11, 2011

TALLAHASSEE With a state budget hole prompting talk of layoffs and program cuts, a Senate panel Friday demanded Scripps Florida justify the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money that has flowed to the Jupiter bioresearch center.

Scripps was given $310 million by former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature in 2004, to expand its California operation to northern Palm Beach County. Bush said the investment would pay off, with Scripps bringing jobs and drawing other research facilities to a self-styled 'Silicon Beach.'

But three years into the state's economic slide, Florida lawmakers Friday said they want to see more results. Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-North Miami Beach, said lawmakers have invested $1.5 billion in Scripps, nearby Max Planck Florida, and six other biotech research centers that officials say have created 1,100 jobs.

"If it's only 1,100 jobs, it doesn't seem like it panned out too well," Margolis said, adding that's more than $1 million per-job. The state's last payments to Scripps -- totaling $50 million -- are scheduled to occur over the next two years.

But Harry Orf, a Scripps vice-president, said lawmakers were being too "narrow," by looking only at the jobs created at the individual research facilities.

Orf said Scripps is an "economic engine," already sparking spinoff companies and luring others to the state.

Orf acknowledged that Scripps has 400 employees at its Jupiter site, not a huge employment center for the level of state investment. But he said the state in coming years will gain millions of dollars in royalties, when Scripps pharmaceutical developments make it to market.

"You are investing in innovation and discovery, and that's going to be the real driver," Orf said.

But a skeptical Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, urged Scripps representatives to think of lawmakers as a board of directors eager to learn how their investment is doing.

Spending on Scripps was easier to rationalize when the state was flush with cash. Lawmakers face a $3.6 billion budget gap now, Gaetz pointed out.

"Now the shareholders have come together and they're scratching their heads and they're saying 'are we absolutely sure we're getting a good return on investment for all the things we're doing,'" said Gaetz, chairman of the Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development budget subcommittee.

He added, "In the world in which this company lives now, this company called Florida, Inc., that's a question we're asking everybody."