Venter Institute Raises $53M Through Sale-Leaseback Deal

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me to e-mail Venter Institute spokeswoman Heather Kowalski (who is married to Venter) and ask if the sale poses any implications for the Venter Institute in San Diego. I also asked if it had any bearing on the institute’s plans to build a new 45,000-gross square foot research facility on the UCSD campus above the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). Plans for the proposed LEED-certified (i.e. green and sustainable) research facility say it is intended to foster collaboration between the Venter Institute and SIO, the California Institute of Information Technology and Telecommunications, (Calit2), UCSD Health Sciences, and the UCSD campus in general.

Kowalski answered: “We believe that this has positive implications for both JCVI’s East and West Coast operations. To your question regarding the West Coast, we hope that this financially beneficial deal will enable us to continue to move forward with our plans to construct the carbon neutral lab facility on the UCSD campus as soon as possible.”

How much funding might be available for the UCSD project is unknown. Kowalski did not respond when I asked how much the lab is expected to cost. It also seems likely that some proceeds will be used to put the Venter Institute’s Maryland facility on sounder financial footing. In its account of the sale-leaseback deal, The Washington Business Journal notes that the most-recent financial records available for the nonprofit Venter Institute show that a $2.2 million budget excess in 2006 caved into a deficit of nearly $17.2 million in 2008.

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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