New Phoenix mayor signals emphasis on biosciences

January 17, 2012

By hammersmith

Greg Stanton, the newly elected mayor of Phoenix, began his tenure on January 3 with a strong show of commitment to the bioscience sector.

In an address following his swearing-in ceremony, Stanton announced a plan to develop a bioscience cluster around the Mayo Clinic hospital campus in north Phoenix. Later the same day, he visited the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix to reaffirm his support for the medical school, which was established on the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus while Stanton was a member of the Phoenix City Council.

“When I served on the Council, we did not wait for others to lead on a cutting-edge opportunity like TGen,” Stanton said, referring to the collaborative effort to recruit the founders of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the International Genomics Consortium to locate their initiatives in Phoenix.

“We didn’t wait for anyone’s permission to bring a university and a medical school to the center of our city. We led the way,” Stanton continued.

The plan to build up the lightly-developed area around the Mayo hospital into the Desert Ridge Bio-science and Technology Collaborative already involves representatives from Mayo; the State Land Department, which owns much of the adjacent land; and Arizona State University, with which Mayo has initiated a number of partnerships centered around the biosciences, including a planned branch of Mayo Medical School on Mayo’s Scottsdale campus.

“We think it’s a tremendous opportunity to further develop the Valley’s position nationally and internationally as a destination for health care-related industries and biotechnology businesses to either place portions of their business or for new startups to be located,” said Wyatt Decker, CEO of Mayo Clinic Arizona, in the Phoenix Business Journal.

“Years from now, we want to see Mayo Clinic surrounded by dense facilities–not just one- and two-story, but dense,” Stanton said in the Business Journal. “It will create tens of thousands of jobs, not a small number of jobs.”

Some of the land adjacent to the existing Mayo Clinic facilities is already designated for medical-facility development or for complementary purposes. The plan Stanton announced would expand the area under that designation.

“We have some physicians and scientists who come up with exciting inventions or intellectual property that would make sense for them to spin off into businesses,” Dr. Decker said in the Business Journal. “This will create the opportunity to have that kind of close connection so they can still practice medicine, but potentially also help play a significant role in business startups.”

Proponents of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus have pursued a similar nexus for the biosciences downtown. During his visit to the College of Medicine-Phoenix, Stanton asserted that he would continue supporting that vision.

“Your success is our success,” Stanton said in an address to students, faculty, and staff. “We cannot achieve what we want to achieve as a city if we don’t have great universities that are well supported, not just at the state level, but at the local level as well. And we want great graduates coming out of those universities to choose to stay here in Phoenix.”

Deepening support from all quarters for build-out of the College of Medicine-Phoenix has been an emphasis of the Steering Committee that drives implementation of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. Since his City Council days, Stanton has served as a member of the Steering Committee. On January 31, he will deliver the keynote address at a Phoenix luncheon unveiling 2011 progress on the Roadmap’s implementation.

For more information:

Desert Ridge area to become bioscience, tech hub,” Arizona Republic, 01/08/2012

Arizona biotech leaders laud Stanton’s Mayo Clinic plans,” Phoenix Business Journal, 01/04/2012

New Mayor Visits UA College of Medicine-Phoenix,” University of Arizona news release, 01/04/2012

Greg Stanton Sworn in as 52nd Mayor of Phoenix, Announces Major New Projects,” City of Phoenix news release, 01/03/2012