Thursday, March 01, 2001

Donated facility ratchets research

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The University of Cincinnati took possession Wednesday of a donated research facility in Reading. Local and state officials say it will be a cornerstone to expanding biotech research and business development in Ohio.

        The 360,000-square-foot Aventis laboratory, located along the Ronald Reagan Highway just east of I-75, had been vacant for about three years.

[photo] Leading a tour of lab areas at the Aventis building in Reading is Donald Harrison, UC vice provost for health affairs.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        Last year, the company agreed to donate the facility to UC.

        The gift jump-starts plans to double UC's biomedical research funding and staff by 2006. It also helps Ohio become more competitive with Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and other states that are pumping money into biotech research to boost economic development, officials say.

        “This university, indeed all of Ohio's universities, are critical to the economic well-being of all Ohioans. This facility will help Ohio take a very big step forward,” said Roderick Chu, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.

        Without the gift, it would have cost UC $100 million and required two or three years to build a research center as large as the Aventis lab, said UC president Joseph Steger.

        Research at the center will focus on cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and early childhood ill nesses. This fall, groups of researchers from UC and Children's Hospital Medical Center will start moving to the Reading lab. Others will be recruited from out of town.

        Ultimately, up to 40 scientists and 400 support staff will occupy the Reading lab, officials predict.

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