What $750m means: a review of the state biotech plan

What $750m means: a review of the state biotech plan

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has made much of his $750 million biotechnology plan for the state, especially as budget season pushes onward. But it can be easy to lose track of where the money is coming from and going, as the plan involves a handful of separate buildings and initiatives funded through public-private partnerships.
WTN compiled this review of where the money will be spent. In all, Doyle has proposed using close to $240 million in new state funds, which will come in pieces over the next 10 years. The rest will come from private donations, federal grants and the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery: $380m

The institute, to be built on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, will house a multidisciplinary group of researchers in biochemistry, nanotechnology, computer engineering and bioinformatics.
About half of the price tag will be paid with private money. The state will finance the rest over the next 10 years with $187.5 million in bonds. Doyle’s proposed 2005-07 budget includes $19 million for the building. Previously officials had speculated that up to two-thirds of the cost could be privately funded.
To make room, the university will tear down an entire block between University Avenue and West Johnson Street where the two split on the west side of campus. This block is nestled between the campus’s major clusters of engineering and bioscience buildings.
This location has a history: It was intended for the fourth research building in Wisconsin’s BioStar initiative, which was begun in 2000 by then-Governor Tommy Thompson. But BioStar involved $317 million for all four of its bioscience buildings, and for the Institute for Discovery, which in a way is an outgrowth of BioStar, the plans grew much bigger.

Interdisciplinary Research Complex: $134m

Close to $100 million of the cost of this new medical research facility, also to be built at UW-Madison, has already been covered. Among others, the National Institutes of Health have put up $18 million in grant money, and the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation recently contributed $15 million. The state would put up around $20 million total over the course of construction.
The complex is the final building resulting from the 1997 HealthStar initiative. The other two buildings, now complete, are the Rennebohm Pharmacy Building and the Health Sciences Learning Center.

Milwaukee research facility: $132m

The Medical College of Wisconsin and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are building a research facility in Milwaukee to study infectious disease control, cardiovascular illnesses and bioengineering. Doyle has proposed $25 million in total state assistance over the course of construction.

Investments in research: $109m

The public sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin yielded $105 million that is expected to be used over the next five years by the University of Wisconsin (about $75 million) and the Medical College of Wisconsin (about $30 million) for life-science research.
Doyle also proposes $1.5 million in annual state funding for research into Alzheimer’s disease. He has expressed a desire to make the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, in particular, a national center for Alzheimer’s research.