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Gift of $16 million pharmaceutical facility benefits Morgridge Institute

March 3, 2010

Mentor Worldwide LLC’s donation of a $16 million manufacturing facility to the new Morgridge Institute for Research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will help fuel the nonprofit’s mission of accelerating biomedical discoveries to delivery as treatments and cures.

Sangtae “Sang” Kim, executive director of the private Morgridge Institute, said the 37,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical facility offers new and important resources for the institute and its scientists. The new facility is located on Madison’s west side in University Research Park, the location of more than 100 companies employing about 3,500 people.

Morgridge scientists, which include stem cell pioneer James Thomson, TomoTherapy founder T. Rock Mackie, and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and virologist Paul Ahlquist, plan to collaborate frequently with biomedical and pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to efficiently transition drugs and medical devices into clinical testing and commercial production.

“This generous gift from Mentor is remarkable as it offers our young institute first-class finished space and resources on the west side of Madison, even before our primary and central location on campus has opened,” says Kim.

The Morgridge Institute, along with its twin public institute and a main floor Town Center welcoming all, will be housed in the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. This facility, now under construction between University Avenue and Campus Drive, will open in December in the heart of the UW–Madison campus.

AnnaMarie Daniels, vice president of Mentor Biologics, says, “We are pleased to make this donation to the Morgridge Institute for Research because we share a mutual goal of accelerating interdisciplinary biomedical research through collaboration between industry and academic-based organizations.”

Carl Gulbrandsen, chair of the Morgridge Institute’s board of trustees and managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, applauds the donation as an example of how industry and academic collaboration can foster the development of new discoveries to benefit society.

“Our partnership with Mentor illustrates how ties between business and nonprofit organizations can advance human health,” Gulbrandsen says. “This gift highlights that important work already is under way at the Morgridge Institute for Research and its potential for improving human health is recognized by research partners.”

According to Kim, “Morgridge scientists focused on regenerative biology, virology, medical devices, pharmaceutical informatics, and health education are already applying their research expertise to selected health challenges. We believe our interdisciplinary and targeted approach to research can yield new medical treatments, as well as life changing and saving health care products. The donation of this building will enhance our ability and flexibility to bring these discoveries to market.”

Designed to meet stringent requirements for pharmaceutical manufacturing, the facility combines flexible production space with an architectural promenade that allows visitors to view the manufacturing process. The building is LEED certified, meaning it has achieved a series of benchmarks in energy conservation and environmental sustainability. It currently is valued at $16 million.

The Morgridge Institute for Research is made possible by funding from private donors, including John and Tashia Morgridge, whose generosity has helped launch the innovative, state-of-the-art Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

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