$100 Million Gift Provides a Springboard for New University of Virginia Biotechnology Institute

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By Sarah Ellinwood
January 23, 2023

Charlottesville, Virginia has come into its own in recent years as a bustling biotech hub, with companies, jobs, and capital continuing to flood into the region. Just this past year we’ve seen up-and-coming biotechs making major headlines, from Rivus’s rocking $132M Series B round to a new test to predict COVID-19 severity to encouraging clinical results.

Much of this growth has been fueled by organizations such as CvilleBioHub, which has worked closely with multitudes of local biotechs to provide mentorship, resources, and other forms of support.

Now, the University of Virginia (UVA) is adding even more fuel to the fire.

Late last week, UVA announced it will launch a biotechnology institute, the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology, with a $100 million donation from Charlottesville investor Paul Manning and his wife, Diane. UVA will also contribute $150 million, and the state of Virginia has allocated $50 million in initial investments for the institute in its 2022-24 budget.

The institute will focus on developing new medical treatments through translational medical research, including cellular and gene therapies, nanotechnology, and immunotherapy. The new facility is expected to open in about four years at UVA’s Fontaine Research Park in Charlottesville, and will include a biomanufacturing facility four times larger than UVA Health’s current biomanufacturing center.

The goal of the institute is to bring together high-tech research facilities, state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities, and patient care space under one roof, and to collaborate with other universities and hospital systems in the state to provide patients access to treatment trials. The institute aims to boost the biotech industry in Virginia to compete with other major biotech hubs such as Boston and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

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“We live in an incredibly exciting time of discovery in medicine – and the Manning Institute will ensure UVA remains at the forefront of research and patient care,” UVA President Jim Ryan said during the announcement on Friday. “Paul and Diane Manning’s extraordinary gift will mean new treatments and therapies for the patients who need them most, and I’m immensely grateful for their generosity and vision. Importantly, this transformational investment in health care for Virginians was also made possible by critical support from Gov. Youngkin and key leaders in the General Assembly.”

The Manning institute will not only speed up research efforts, but also enable UVA to widen its clinical trial options, providing more individuals access to investigational treatments. The institute will also serve as a magnet to attract skilled researchers from around the nation and increase funding for research initiatives.

This development will undoubtedly take Charlottesville’s existing ecosystem of innovation, discovery, manufacturing and industry to the next level. We’ll be sure to provide more details as development begins.