Progress made on UPMC facilities in Italy
By Luis Fábregas
Published: Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 5:30 p.m.
A long-planned biomedical research complex in Sicily managed by UPMC is moving forward and should be operating in two years, UPMC officials said on Tuesday.
The Italian government is paying for the $269 million biomedical research and biotechnology center, announced in 2006, with the expectation that drugs and vaccines researchers develop there eventually would be commercialized.
“The way I see it, this benefits both Pittsburgh and Sicily, because by working synergistically, the discoveries will move forward much more quickly,” Dr. Bruno Gridelli, vice chairman of the Ri.MED Foundation that oversees the center, told the Tribune-Review from Palermo.
The center was designed by the architectural firm HOK, which designed the Flame Towers project in Baku, Azerbaijan. The architect, selected by a jury of Italian scientists and architects in a worldwide competition, designed the research complex as a compact village connected by a pedestrian street.
UPMC officials said the research center is an extension of its successful multi-specialty hospital in Palermo called ISMETT. UPMC runs the 78-bed hospital under a management contract with the Sicilian government.
The health care giant will have a similar management contract to run the research center in Carini, a town about 15 miles from Palermo.
UPMC would not say how much it will be paid under the agreements. Officials said the center eventually will employ about 700 scientists and other staff members.
Another UPMC project in Italy, a radiotherapy center in Rome, is scheduled to open Dec. 17, said Chuck Bogosta, president of UPMC's international and commercial services division.
That center, on the campus of the 500-bed Catholic San Pietro Hospital, will provide cancer treatment not available in the region, Bogosta said.
Patients who need stereotactic radiosurgery must travel 450 miles to Milan, he said. UPMC operates similar cancer treatment facilities in Ireland.
Luis Fábregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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