The University of Virginia broke ground Friday on the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology, a historic milestone for UVA that will propel it to the forefront of cutting-edge medicine, fast track the development of new treatments and cures and transform how healthcare is delivered across the state and beyond.
The new institute is made possible, in large part, by a generous $100 million donation from philanthropists Paul and Diane Manning, after whom the institute is named. It also represents a major investment by UVA and state leaders who recognize the institute’s potential to tackle some of the greatest challenges in medicine while driving economic growth for the entire Commonwealth. Officials estimate the institute will generate hundreds of jobs directly and potentially thousands indirectly by drawing biotech and pharmaceutical companies to a new “ecosystem of innovation” surrounding the state-of-the-art, 350,000-square-foot facility in Fontaine Research Park.
“This is an historic moment for UVA and for the Commonwealth as we break ground on a world-class translational research facility that will yield promising new treatments for patients,” UVA President James E. Ryan said. “I’m grateful to Paul and Diane Manning for their extraordinary generosity, to Gov. Youngkin and the Commonwealth for their investment, and to all those on Grounds and across the state who have worked tirelessly to make this possible.”
Youngkin calls the establishment of the institute a major victory for the state, its economy and its residents. “The entire Commonwealth celebrates the groundbreaking of UVA’s Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology,” he said. “This cutting-edge facility will help attract a full spectrum of bioscience companies to the Commonwealth and ensure more Virginians can receive care and treatment right here in the Commonwealth. Thanks to the generous contributions of Paul and Diane Manning and critical collaboration with UVA leaders, this institute with help transform the biotech and healthcare industries.”
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Youngkin announced that he will ask the General Assembly to invest an additional $50 million into the institute on top of the $50 million the state has already committed. “This is a very important statement about the public-public-private partnership that this institute represents,” he said.
Paul Manning, the chairman and chief executive officer of PBM Capital, a healthcare-focused investment firm, celebrated the beginning of what he envisions will be a game-changing powerhouse in healthcare. “The facility we’re building here will be best-in-class and a true game-changer for science and medicine,” he said. “Research, manufacturing and treatment – we’re bringing it all together under one roof. The work that will be done here will transform the future of medicine.”
The Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology will focus on cutting-edge areas of medical research such as cellular therapy, gene therapy, nanotechnology and drug delivery that are already strengths for UVA. These are fields with the potential to better treat or cure many diseases, including those for which there are no good treatment options today.
K. Craig Kent, MD, Chief Executive Officer of UVA Health and UVA’s Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, noted that the new biotech institute will help ensure that no Virginian needs to leave the state even for the most complex care. The institute, he said, represents a physical manifestation of the ambitious vision laid out in the health system’s 10-year strategic plan.
“When we break ground at Fontaine, it will mark the beginning of a major shift in Virginia healthcare,” he said. “We’re providing our exceptional faculty and researchers with the facilities, space and resources they need to accelerate the development of new treatments for the most challenging and devastating diseases. They’ll do this in collaboration with research partners across the state, and what we produce together will benefit not just our patients but people all around the world.”
In addition to fast-tracking medical discovery, the institute will allow UVA to expand its offerings of clinical trials, the testing ground for new treatments. These trials make it possible for people to access potential treatments as they are being developed, long before they become widely available – sometimes years before. UVA is developing a statewide clinical trials network on a parallel path to the biotech institute building construction.
“Lawmakers came together in Richmond, in true bipartisan fashion, to support the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology because we saw the tremendous potential it holds for the Commonwealth and its residents. The institute will come to be known as a place where miracles happen,” said Del. Todd Gilbert, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. “It will not only save lives, but it will also grow the economy, create jobs and make Virginia a world leader in cutting-edge advances in healthcare.”
Del. Barry Knight, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he expects the state to reap rich rewards on its initial $50 million investment in the years to come. “During my tenure as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I have been presented with many potential ideas to move the Commonwealth forward,” he said. “I immediately recognized the fantastic opportunity we had to put Virginia on the map among the leaders in bioscience and on the edge of something so revolutionary with the generosity and commitment of the Manning family.”
The new building at Fontaine Research Park will become the nerve center for biotechnology research, development and manufacturing at UVA. Located by the Aurbach Medical Research Building and the Snyder Translational Research facility, the four-story Manning Institute will bring high-tech research facilities, state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities and welcoming patient-care space together under one roof.
“The Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology will be a crown jewel for our outstanding research enterprise at the University of Virginia,” UVA Rector Robert Hardie said. “This facility represents a forward-looking vision of what UVA can be in the 21st century, what we can do for the world, and I’m excited to see all the good that will come from it.”
The environmentally friendly building’s clean, modern design includes laboratory space, expanded research facilities, core facilities and an area for researchers and partnering biotechnology companies. There will also be a café and conference center to encourage collaboration among researchers within the park and across Grounds, as well as a new parking structure, improved traffic flow and an innovative heating plant.
“The Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology is going to be a game-changer for UVA’s research mission,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Ian Baucom, the University’s chief academic officer. “It will help us attract top talent, bolster our research funding portfolio and train the biomedical innovators of tomorrow, all within a beautiful, flexible space that will nurture and grow the amazing biomedical research taking place here at UVA.”
Officials expect to have construction completed and the new facility initially occupied by late 2026.