MIAMI (June 22, 2010) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP represented the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute Florida Corp. (VGTI Florida) on the June 3, 2010 closing of a $64 million tax-exempt research facilities revenue bonds for construction of a 99,000 square foot research facility. At the same time, McDermott completed VGTI’s acquisition of an eight acre parcel of land in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where the facilities will be constructed. When fully operational, the research facility is expected to employ up to 200 scientists and staff.
The City of Port St. Lucie issued and guaranteed payment of the bonds, which achieved a Moody’s rating of Aa3. VGTI Florida is the borrower, pledging the acquired land and the to-be-built building as security.
Research at the VGTI Florida facility will focus on vaccine development with a special focus on vaccines and therapeutics that protect the aging population, which is the most vulnerable to disease. VGTI Florida represents the latest example of Florida’s expanding life science sector.
In 2008, McDermott represented VGTI Florida in negotiating a $60 million innovation incentive fund grant from the State of Florida’s Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. VGTI Florida, together with the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, Martin Memorial Health Systems and Mann Research Center LLC, will anchor the Florida Center for Innovation at Tradition in Port St. Lucie.
Miami partners Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez and Gregg Fierman, and Washington, D.C. partner Cathy Scheineson served as McDermott’s lead counsel to VGTI Florida. Rocky Rodriguez is a former General Counsel to Governor Jeb Bush and was the lead lawyer on behalf of the state in negotiating the $310 million Scripps Florida incentives that brought Scripps to Palm Beach County and the innovation incentive fund grants that brought Torrey Pines, Burnham Research Institute for Medical Research and Stanford Research Institute to Florida in 2006. In 2008, Rocky Rodriguez also represented the Max Planck Society in obtaining and negotiating over $180 million in state and local incentives for its first-ever expansion into the United States with the establishment of the Max Planck Florida Institute in Jupiter, Florida.
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