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New contract ensures future state funding of downtown Phoenix’s TGen

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — After months of review, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission last week signed off on a new contract that ensures continued funding of [the downtown] Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute.  The commission sought the new contract with TGen to protect Arizona’s interests in the wake of TGen’s alliance with Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Van Andel Institute.  Under the alliance, both TGen and Van Andel retain their locations, research staffs, and boards of directors.

TGen filed amended corporate documents last month with the Arizona Corporation Commission that reflect the change.  TGen is now a member-based organization instead of director-based organization, and Van Andel’s research arm, the Van Andel Research Institute, is the sole member of TGen.  TGen representatives said the new structure gives Van Andel shared control of TGen.  TGen receives undisclosed funding from Van Andel.

TGen President and Research Director Jeffrey Trent also holds the same position with the Van Andel Research Institute.  He splits his time between the two sites.  “It was of concern to all parties that the economic engine that TGen has been should continue in Arizona,” said Dawn Schroeder, executive director of the commission.  “It is a substitute contract, which puts in place safeguards for the state of Arizona.”  [Note: To read the full article, visit New contract ensures future state funding of downtown Phoenix’s TGen.]

Economic benefits of downtown Phoenix’s TGen more than doubled in 2 years

[Source: Betty Beard, Arizona Republic] — A new study shows that TGen, the downtown Phoenix-based bioscience research group, last year produced about $8 for every $1 invested by the state — more than twice its economic benefits of two years earlier.  The study by the Tripp Umbach company in Pittsburgh estimates that the 2008 economic benefit reached $77.4 million, compared with $21.7 million in 2006.  TGen’s economic benefits have grown because it has almost 300 employees, its research has helped create or incubate seven companies to commercialize technology, it contracts with outside businesses such as software developers, and the bulk of its $65 million annual budget comes from federal and corporate grants.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute, as it is officially known, commissioned the 2006 and 2008 studies to show that the state and public investments that created TGen in 2002 have more than paid for themselves and continue to produce results, said Jeffrey Trent, TGen president and research director.  Arizona pays about $5.5 million a year into TGen, using tobacco funds earmarked for health research.  Phoenix contributed the building, and the group receives substantial donations, such as $685,000 awarded by Safeway earlier this year for breast-cancer research.

Even though TGen continues to attract multimillion-dollar contracts and grants, Trent said he hopes the group can continue to receive money from the state earmarked for medical research.  It expects to continue receiving the $5.5 million a year through 2012.  “We are focusing on leveraging state dollars vs. replacing state dollars,” Trent said.  “Bioscience was never intended to be the sole component that would change the economy in Arizona.  But I think it is an important knowledge-based pillar that the state has invested in, and I think if it continues to invest, it is likely to have an economic impact.”

The Tripp Umbach report released Tuesday said that TGen operations in 2008 produced $8.09 for every $1 invested by the state, 461 direct and indirect full-time jobs, $2.7 million in state taxes and a direct annual economic benefit of $44.5 million.  Adding the business spin-offs and commercialization, TGen produced about $14.07 for every $1 in state investment, $5.7 million in taxes and $77.4 million in total annual economic impact. [Note: Read the full article at Economic benefits of downtown Phoenix’s TGen more than doubled in 2 years.]