UB's Center of Excellence and Roswell Park Cancer Institute Center for Genetics and Pharmacology Celebrate Grand Opening

Release Date: June 2, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Creation of a life-sciences industry and economy for Buffalo Niagara took an historic step forward today with the grand opening of the University at Buffalo's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Center for Genetics and Pharmacology.

An important milestone in Buffalo's transformation from a postindustrial, rust-belt city into a major hub for groundbreaking life-sciences research and industry, the adjoined buildings located on Virginia Street on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will be the site of state-of-the-art laboratories where researchers will pursue development of new treatments and medical devices for such complex diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Today's ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Gov. George E. Pataki and other leaders in government who have supported creation of the new UB and RPCI buildings. Also in attendance and speaking were Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York State Senator Dale M. Volker, New York State Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, as well as UB President John B. Simpson and David C. Hohn, M.D., president and CEO of RPCI.

Noting that "we are making history today," Simpson thanked government and community leaders gathered for the event for their vision and support enabling UB and its research partners in the Center of Excellence, RPCI and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI), to forge "a partnership built on a shared vision -- the vision of a strong, vibrant life-sciences economy for Western New York."

With the opening of the Center of Excellence and RPCI's Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, he added, "we are opening the doors of opportunity, progress and the promise of a better life -- for our region and far beyond.

"Together, we are taking critical steps toward two vital goals," Simpson stressed. "We are working together to build a strong, vital economic future for our region and state. We are working together to improve the quality of life of our global community through groundbreaking approaches to the study, prevention and treatment of disease."

Hohn said, "Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo have had a long-standing, collaborative relationship. We welcome UB's expanded presence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Within the walls of the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex, which includes the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, scientists are conducting groundbreaking research on a wide range of diseases.

  "This state-of-the-art research complex brings together a life-sciences 'brain trust' that is focused singularly on developing new treatments and new ways to prevent illness.  We owe a debt of gratitude to our elected officials and the community for their financial support and advocacy," Hohn added. "At the turn of the last century, Dr. Roswell Park, founder of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and chair of surgery at UB, was one man with a vision -- if cancer was to be understood and successfully treated, researchers and clinicians had to collaborate.  He would be proud to see that his legacy lives on, and that 21st-century discoveries and medical advances will continue to emanate from this long and productive partnership."

The four-story, 130,000-square-foot building housing the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences was constructed by New York State at a cost of $52 million. State funding for the center and its programs to date has totaled $89.4 million. In addition to $27.75 million in direct federal funding, the Center of Excellence has received more than $3.5 million in funding from the John R. Oishei Foundation and $1.5 million from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. Funding from the private sector has totaled approximately $60 million. The center will be home to more than 200 researchers and support staff.

Pataki proposed the creation of the Center of Excellence in 2001 as part of a plan to jump-start the New York State economy through creation of high-technology centers of excellence across the state. A major research center of the University at Buffalo, the Center of Excellence works in close collaboration with research partners RPCI and HWI.

The five-story, 170,000-square-foot building that houses the RPCI Center for Genetics and Pharmacology will host two world-renowned scientific teams, representing the best and brightest in cancer-genetics research and new cancer-drug development. When complete, more than 200 employees will work in the facility, including 60 primary investigators. Over 8,400 individuals contributed to RPCI's $21 million fundraising campaign, Horizons of Hope, which when combined with $41 million in New York State funding allowed the Phase I construction of the RPCI Center for Genetics and Pharmacology to be completed.  Phase II of the construction, which will complete the fourth and fifth floors, is underway and will cost an estimated $20 million, of which New York State is contributing $18 million and the federal government is contributing $750,000 secured by Reynolds.

Along with the new HWI building, which opened in May 2005 at 700 Ellicott Street, the Center of Excellence and RPCI's Center for Genetics and Pharmacology constitute the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

More than $225 million from state, federal, philanthropic and industry sources have been invested in construction, resources and programs for the three buildings. An overhead walking bridge linking the Center of Excellence and HWI will be constructed across Ellicott Street.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, founded in 1898, is the nation's first cancer research, treatment and education center and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers. For more information, visit RPCI's Web site at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI or e-mail askrpci@roswellpark.org.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Media Contact Information

John DellaContrada
Vice President for University Communications
Tel: 716-645-4601 (mobile: 716-361-3006)
Twitter: @UBNewsSource