- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 27 (UPI) — The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are forming a partnership to conduct research on biotechnology and genomics, it was reported Thursday.

The two institutions are hoping the state of Minnesota will provide seed money for the Minnesota Biotechnology and Genomics Centers, which will have facilities at both the Rochester, Minn., medical center and the university, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has encouraged the two institutions to work together on biotech issues, was considering the proposal.

"What we are exploring with the University of Minnesota is the opportunity to find synergies and work together," said Dr. Hugh Smith, chairman of the board of governors for Mayo's Rochester clinic.

The state's $4.23 billion budget deficit could put a crimp in finding the estimated $80 million needed to get the project off the ground.

The proposal envisions recruiting scientists to share equipment and technology at both institutions with the goal of avoiding duplication of expensive and difficult research efforts. It also calls for cooperation on research grant requests from the National Institutes of Health, eliminating the rivalry that has plagued the two operations in the past.

"The state could really become not just a regional or national, but world leader in genomics as it relates to biosciences," Matt Kramer, state commissioner of trade and economic development, told the newspaper. "Mayo Clinic has always dealt with complex diseases," added Dr. Denis Cortese, the clinic's new president and chief executive. "We are now talking about complex science to deal with complex diseases."

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