Phoenix, AZ (Scicasts) - The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has announced the completion of a strategic alliance and affiliation agreement with the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) that will maximize the research capabilities of both non-profit institutes.
According to the announcement, TGen expects the agreement to create a robust basic-science-to-translational delivery platform aimed at developing new tests and treatments for patient benefit.
"We are excited to align with a prominent institute like Van Andel, a partnership that I fully expect to yield greater scientific and economic returns for both Arizona and Michigan," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director, a title he also now holds at VARI.
TGen remains an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) non-profit biomedical research organization, headquartered in Phoenix with an Arizona-centric board. VARI, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will be the organization's sole member.
Since making an initial alliance announcement in February 2009, TGen worked with key Arizona partners to ratify any needed changes to funding or research agreements, including the Flinn Foundation, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the Arizona Board of Regents, a number of the Valley's health care providers, and the State of Arizona.
"As one can imagine with a process of this scope, there were a number of technical and legal points to address," Dr. Trent said. "I can't thank our Arizona-based partners and members of our Board of Directors enough for their willingness to see the process through to completion. It was gratifying that the leadership of all organizations we worked with fully saw the long-term scientific and medical benefit the alliance and affiliation would offer."
TGen's final contract revision, signed January 15, enabled the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC) to continue funding TGen through state tobacco-tax revenues. The new state contract, facilitated through ABRC leadership and the Arizona Attorney General's Office, ensures continued state funding through fiscal year 2012.
"TGen is critical not only to our ability to find cures to cancer and other diseases, but also to diversifying Arizona's economy and helping our state attract high-wage, cutting-edge, bioscience jobs. I am pleased that my office helped bring the parties together to secure TGen's future in Arizona," said Attorney General Terry Goddard.
VARI is the research arm of the Van Andel Institute (VAI), established in 1996 as a philanthropic research and educational organization by the late Jay and Betty Van Andel. There are over 250 scientists and staff in 18 laboratories who study the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson's and other diseases. VARI recently opened a 240,000 square-foot building expansion in downtown Grand Rapids, which will allow it to broaden its efforts to include additional neurological disorders and chronic illnesses.
"This agreement provides TGen and VARI a research platform from which to tackle many of today's leading diseases with greater strength of resources, and as important, redefines collaboration in a way that should enhance the biomedical sectors and provide economic benefit to both Arizona and Michigan," said David Van Andel, VARI Chairman and CEO.