Governor Bob Riley, congressman Bud Cramer, mayor Loretta Spencer and business representatives gathered for groundbreaking ceremonies for the Hudson-Alpha Institute for Biotechnology (HAIB), which will be located in Cummings Research Park.

According to HAIB representatives, the four-storey, 24,154-square-metre building will house up to 900 employees and is due for completion in mid-2007. The facility will contain state-of-the-art laboratories for biotech research and development in the areas of genetics and personalised medicine. In addition, space will be allocated for high school and college-level outreach and training programmes.

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Six local biotechnology companies have already committed to leasing space in the HAIB and more are being recruited. The six companies planning to lease space include local start-ups Open Biosystems, Genaco Biomedical Products, Applied Genomics Inc, Expression Genetics, New Century Pharmaceuticals and SourceCF. Nektar Pharmaceuticals has an existing building that will be adjacent to the new HAIB campus and Operon Biotechnologies Inc will also be relocating its headquarters from Maryland to Huntsville and plans to build a facility on the HAIB campus.