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From left, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Empire State Development President Ken Adams and Trudeau Institute President and CEO Ron Goldfarb sign a memorandum of understanding Wednesday at the Lake Placid Conference Center. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
From left, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Empire State Development President Ken Adams and Trudeau Institute President and CEO Ron Goldfarb sign a memorandum of understanding Wednesday at the Lake Placid Conference Center. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Clarkson-Trudeau deal could foster a biotech "cluster"

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state will partner with Trudeau Institute and Clarkson University to create a "world-class" biotechnology research and development enterprise.

At an event in Lake Placid, Cuomo said the $35 million deal will stabilize and save jobs at the Saranac Lake-based nonprofit research center, and attract new investment that could bring hundreds of new jobs to the North Country.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

The deal announced Wednesday comes after what’s been a trying last few years for Trudeau that included the potential relocation of the institute to a research park in Florida, budget cuts, layoffs, the loss of well-funded faculty and the erosion of the institute’s endowment.

“We were in danger of losing Trudeau,” Cuomo said. “About 80 jobs were currently at Trudeau and we were in danger of losing all 80. Trudeau was going to close down, pack up and move on.”

But sometimes, out of crisis comes opportunity, Cuomo said.

 “We took the Trudeau closing as the opportunity to find a different relationship and a different synergy with Trudeau and a different business model, which we found,” he said.

The governor said the partnership will bring together Trudeau’s expertise in basic, medical and infectious disease research with Clarkson’s mastery of high-tech and engineering research.

Trudeau President and CEO Ronald Goldfarb said the $35 million will allow faculty at each institution to work together on new projects and generate seed dollars that will allow the two to pursue large grants. The money will also be used to commercialize each institution’s research and could lead to clinical trials.

“The beauty of this is that it adds an extra dimension to each party. Not only do we have synergy of the basic science approaches, but how we can commercialize things and extend it to the clinic as well is truly unique,” Goldfarb said. “I think this puts us in a position that’s enviable, and I do not think we could have found possibly a better partner.”

Clarkson President Tony Collins said he’s confident the collaboration “is going to grow a biotech cluster in this region of the North Country that is going to be the envy of the nation.”

The $35 million will be paid out over five years, beginning with a $10 million infusion in the current fiscal year.

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