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Robert Trigaux

Jeb Bush: Before Scripps Florida arrival, state was a 'nothingburger' in biotech game



Jebvisitsscripps12.09DavidoffStudios.Scripps It's not exactly a family reunion.But it was clearly nostalgic and celebratory when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush returned this month to Scripps Florida in Jupiter -- the groundbreaking biotech firm that Bush, as governor, wooed to expand into Florida six years ago. The price tag of roughly half a billion dollars of federal, state, county and local funds seemed stratospheric at the time but could be some of the better economic development funds Florida has spent in this decade.

In this photo, Bush (gray suit and glasses) sat and chatted with (from left) Mark Crowell, Elizabeth Fago and Rich DeVos. Crowell is Scripps Research Institute's vice president for business development. (Photo courtesy of Scripps Research, by Davidoff Studios.)

Fago, a nursing home developer, donated $1 million to Scripps Florida; the Scripps Florida Library will be named after her. Fago separately pledged another $1 million in 2004 to support Alzheimer’s disease research at Scripps. And DeVos is a co-founder of Amway and owner of the Orlando Magic basketball franchise.

Jebvisitsscrippsflorida.groupchrissullivan.davidoffstudiosBush came to the campus of Scripps Florida last Wednesday to commend biotech leaders for their progress, and he fended off suggestions that the state should invest more to spur the industry, the Palm Beach Post reported. Said Bush:

"Florida has gone from what I would call a nothingburger in the life sciences space to one of the top eight, top seven, top six states. The execution of this idea was first-rate." Here's the complete Palm Beach Post story.

Nothingburger? The second photo is included, despite the overlap of people from the first, to include Tampa's own Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan. What does he have to do with Scripps Florida in Jupiter? Sullivan is co-chair of the Scripps Florida Council, a philanthropic extension of Scripps Florida by which Sullivan will help raise funds for the expensive scientific work at Scripps. The photo, from left to right: Mark Crowell; Rich DeVos; Jeb Bush; Elizabeth Fago; Joe Collard, head of the Jupiter biotech firm CURNA, and Chris Sullivan. (Photo courtesy of Scripps Florida, by Davidoff Studios.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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