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Minnesota Senate Passes $16M for Medical Genomics, Biotech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The Minnesota State Legislature has approved $16 million in funding for a biomedical research partnership between the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Foundation.

The funding, which will go to the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, passed the State Senate on Wednesday as part of an education funding bill that has not yet been signed into law.

The partnership funds research and infrastructure grants from principal investigators at Mayo Clinic and at the university. Recent projects funded through the partnership include microarray development projects for neurological disorders, molecular studies of a soybean aphid, a high-throughput crystallization facility for disease studies, and a high-throughput sequence analysis data project, among others.

The Minnesota-Mayo collaboration funds grants that are the most likely to have realistic commercialization opportunities, are "good science," and improve health in the state, Robert Nellis, a Minnesota Partnership spokesman, told GenomeWeb Daily News today.

The funding is not a done deal, Nellis said, but he said the presence of the $16 million in a passed bill is "good news," and he noted that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who announced the partnership in 2003, has been "a friend" to the medical genomics and biotechnology collaboration.

The bill includes language that would not allow the Board of Regents at the university to reduce the funding allocated without consulting the Senate and House committee chairs responsible for financing higher education.

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