The private half of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will have expanded research capabilities after a California drug company donated a $16 million facility Wednesday.
Mentor Worldwide LLC, a global company that specializes in aesthetics medicine, was pleased to grant the state-of-the-art biomedical facility to the Morgridge Institute for Research, Mentor Director of Corporate Communications Christopher Allman said.
“The reason that we chose to donate the facility is because we share a goal with Morgridge,” Allman said. “That goal is to advance and accelerate biomedical research, and this facility will help them to do that.”
The new 37,000 square-foot facility is located in University Research Park on Madison’s west side. Morgridge Institute Executive Director Sangtae Kim said the facility is designed to be state-of-the art in terms of utilities, high purity water and complete air filtration.
“Research buildings are usually built to higher standards than typical office buildings,” Kim said. “This building was designed as a research building, which is why it is perfect for our needs.”
According to Kim, Morgridge has not finalized plans for the specific type of research that will be conducted at the new facility and is currently conducting an internal study to determine which department of medical studies would best occupy the space.
Kim added due to the donation of the new facility, Morgridge will be able to increase the overall volume of research they do, which could ultimately lead to huge innovations in biomedical research.
“We envision a significant expansion in research,” Kim said. “This addition to the institute solves the major problem of very limited research space.”
Morgridge is funded by gifts from donors such as John and Tashia Morgridge, along with support from a broader philanthropic base.
Kim said Morgridge asked for the building, and Mentor agreed to donate the facility to be used to advance toward the institute’s research goals, which were directly in line with Mentor’s research goals.
“The goals of our research have always remained the same,” Kim said. “Our main goal is to move from biomedical discovery to the delivery of health solutions and treatments.”
According to Allman, the facility began construction in 2007 and was intended for the production of PurTox, an anti-wrinkle injection similar to Botox that has not been approved by the FDA.
Allman said the initial goal was to build the facility in Madison and be in complete control of the PurTox manufacturing process by now.
Mentor abandoned this idea because several changes occurred, such as the acquisition of Mentor by Johnson & Johnson in January 2009, which resulted in finding different ways to manufacture PurTox, according to Allman.
Allman said Mentor’s decision to donate the building to Morgridge would best serve the similar goal of advancing biomedical research.
“By donating this facility, we hope to help Morgridge continue to grow as an organization and contribute to this type of research,” Allman said. “It’s really a win-win situation for all of us.”