How The University Of Miami Lures Biotech Startups To South Florida

Jun 28, 2013

Robert Chavez, executive director of a new seed accelerator called ProjectLift Miami, works with companies in the Miami Innovation Center at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park.
Credit Alex M. Sanchez/Miami Herald Staff

Many U.S. cities are competing to bring biotech companies and jobs to their communities, places like Phoenix, Buffalo, Gainesville and of course, Miami.

They all want to develop an industry cluster, and while cities like San Diego and Boston have already successfully grown theirs, Miami’s efforts are still somewhat nascent.

Less than a year ago though, the Miami Innovation Center opened its doors for business at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park. The center caters to startups and small businesses with a mix of offices, labs and co-working spaces.

UM’s Life Science & Technology Park sits on about 10 acres near Jackson Memorial Hospital and UM’s medical school, between Northwest 17th and 20th streets and between 7th Avenue and Interstate 95 in Miami.

The signage for the Life Sciences building is prominent, visible to most highway drivers, but it doesn’t tell the full story of just who owns what. This is a project very much born out of partnerships.

The university owns the land, but Wexford Science & Technology developed the building. So far, the developer says 75 percent of the office space has been leased, and tenants are mostly from the biotech sector.

One of the most recent companies to locate in the park is DaVita, which focuses on kidney disease and dialysis treatments.

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