By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - March 14, 2022
Florida’s state budget for next fiscal year has been approved and includes several funding items for Moffitt Cancer Center. Nearly $150 million in new funding will come to the cancer center, with some of the money listed as recurring funds for 30 years. Once signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the funding will be used to support Moffitt’s expansion efforts in Pasco County to better serve more patients and expand the center’s cancer research and educational efforts.
The Moffitt Pasco County project is the largest expansion in the cancer center’s 35-year history. Located on 775 acres, the new life sciences innovation district will serve as a hub for research, digital innovation, education and patient care. The multiyear, multiphase project will include over 1.4 million square feet of research lab, light industrial and manufacturing, general office and clinical building space in the first phase.
“Moffitt is passionate about our goal to build a global destination to live, work and cure cancer. We are grateful for the partnership with the state and support of our lawmakers, especially Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, who have helped make our vision in Pasco County a reality,” said Dr. Patrick Hwu, president and CEO of Moffitt.
"We are grateful for the partnership with the state and support of our lawmakers, especially Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, who have helped make our vision in Pasco County a reality."- Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO of Moffitt
“Moffitt is going to be transformative over the next 10 years because of the funding this Legislature has provided,” Simpson said during his farewell address at the close of the state’s legislative session. “It’s going to be the center in the world that when people anywhere in this country say, ‘I have cancer, where should I go,’ the answer is going to be Moffitt. We’re going to save tens of thousands of lives because of the work we’re doing.”
State Budget Items
- Moffitt Pasco County Life Sciences Park: $20 million (recurring funds through 2053)
- Pasco County Research Park Infrastructure: $106 million
- Moffitt Research and Education: $10 million
- Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program: $37.7 million increases to $100 million – Moffitt to receive additional ~$13 million
Two new budget items will help fund this project. The first provides $106 million in infrastructure money to support road and utility projects that will connect the research park with surrounding communities in west-central Pasco County. Permitting has begun for phase 1, with work slated to begin late 2022/early 2023. The second is $20 million in recurring funding over the next 30 years, $600 million in total by 2053, to support the development and construction of the project. The first phase of construction, which includes research and office buildings, is expected to begin mid- to late 2023 and be completed by mid-2025.
“Over the next two quarters, Moffitt will continue to lay the foundation for things to come. As infrastructure and roadwork gets underway, we will construct a temporary visitor’s center and continue our extensive outreach to potential academic, clinical, research, pharma and biotech partners,” said Hwu.
Research will be at the forefront of Moffitt’s Pasco County project. New state funding will allow the cancer center to continue to expand those efforts. Named after Florida’s first lady, who recently completed treatment for breast cancer, the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program will see a $37.7 million increase in funding bringing the total to $100 million. The initiative was created in 2014 to enhance the quality and competitiveness of cancer care in the state. It provides funding to three state cancer centers, including Moffitt, to retain or seek National Cancer Institute designation. Moffitt is expecting to see an additional $13 million in funding next year from the program increase.
“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in our state. We applaud the efforts of our governor and first lady for investing in cancer research here in Florida and for their continued support of raising awareness about the importance of early detection and screening,” said Hwu.
There is also one additional budget item dedicated to Moffitt’s research and educational efforts totaling $10 million. This is recurring funding that will support the cancer center’s partnership with the state to train and retain oncology professionals.