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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 5, 201512:00 PM EST

Mayo Clinic adding new lung center


Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and United Therapeutics Corp. are a few steps closer to developing their proposed lung-restoration center in Jacksonville.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Kevin Punsky said Tuesday the contract has been signed for the land lease agreement and ground should be broken by year-end. No contractor has been chosen.

The two facilities are partnering to develop and operate the center on Mayo Clinic’s Southside campus. They announced in mid-June that they expect to complete construction in late 2017.

They would not disclose financial details.

United Therapeutics, based in Silver Spring, Md., is a biotechnology company that focuses on the development and commercialization of products for the medical needs of patients in life-threatening conditions.

The center is planned along Kendall Hench Drive next to the Birdsall Medical Research and Griffin Cancer Research buildings on the campus. Mayo is at 4500 San Pablo Road, just off Butler Boulevard.

As shown to the city, the building would feature six “ex vivo lung perfusion” rooms on the first floor; executive and other offices, workstations, a conference room, command center, call rooms and a gym on the second floor; and labs and offices on the third floor. That space totals almost 75,000 square feet.

The fourth floor is the roof and mechanical and machine rooms.

The building is being designed for more floors to be added if needed.

Mayo Clinic and United Therapeutics said in June that the goal of the lung-restoration center was to significantly increase the volume of lungs for transplantation by preserving and restoring selected marginal donor lungs, making them viable for transplantation.

They said the restored lungs will be made available to patients at Mayo Clinic and other transplant centers throughout the United States.

An initial description in review by the city calls the project the “United Therapeutics Jax Net Zero Center.” It was developed by the EwingCole architecture, engineering and design firm, with offices in Philadelphia; Irvine, Calif.; and New York City.

Punsky said “net zero” means the building will create as much energy as it consumes. There will be energy consumption solar panels on the building and in the parking lot, as well as a geothermal heat recovery system, he said.

The legal description of the project explains that Lung PBC, a division of United Therapeutics, and Mayo entered into a long-term ground lease for the site. Lung PBC is Lung Biotechnology Public Benefit Corporation.

The lease provides for the development of the building and is a first-of-its-kind partnership for Mayo.

It will not be open to the public.

Lung PBC will finance, own and develop the building, which both it and Mayo Clinic will occupy. Mayo will lease its space.

The building will be used to restore organs for transplant and for Mayo to conduct research. Both Lung PBC and Mayo Clinic activities will produce materials or therapies that Mayo will use in a clinical setting elsewhere on the campus.

Lung PBC will implement a procurement strategy to direct work to Duval County firms and personnel. Punsky said intentions are to use as much local subcontractor work as possible on the project.

Mayo Clinic retains final approval rights for design and engineering as well as the contractor.

“This collaboration is exciting because it allows Mayo Clinic to bring the latest advances in life-saving technology to transplant patients,” said Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, in the June news release.

Punsky said about 25 United Therapeutics staff will run the center. Mayo Clinic will dedicate about 50 employees to it.

“Ultimately, this relationship will help Mayo Clinic expand its reach to patients who could benefit from this innovation. Increasing the number of lungs available for transplantation provides more options for patients suffering from pulmonary disease,” Farrugia said.

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