Tampa Bay has an extraordinary opportunity to develop a national brand as a national center in Applied Medicine & Human Performance.
The Tampa Bay region, part of Florida’s High Tech Corridor, is poised to become the Austin of Florida in the area of Applied Medicine & Human Performance over the next 10 years.
Specifically, this sector—one of the four targeted industry sectors identified in the Regional Business Plan for high-wage, sustainable job growth in Tampa Bay—entails the niche clusters of senior health and wellness, human performance, clinical trials, personalized medicine, health information technology, bioinformatics, and medical instruments and devices. For example, Moffitt Cancer Center has become nationally known for its Total Cancer Care model, which combines elements of personalized medicine and access to clinical trials with traditional cancer care. M2Gen, a Moffitt and Merck for-profit spinout, provides a facility, unmatched worldwide, for providing bioinformatics, clinical trial matching and translational research. IMG Academies in Bradenton has produced some of the world’s top competitors and is redefining sports training for young athletes. The University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) and USF Health’s partnership with The Villages Health System further demonstrates innovative and collaborative activities within this target sector.
This region has developed a core competency over the past 10 years that is surprising to many. The list of academic, nonprofit, research and health-related institutes located within the High Tech Corridor is unmatched anywhere in the United States. A sample of an effort to map all of the assets in the region provides a heat map of scientific research and patent activity overlaid with some of the regional stakeholders. A fully interactive asset map is contemplated that would provide the ability to drill down to see individual clinical trial sites, research and for-profit activities within the region. A picture of a mega-region develops with the recognition that Tampa Bay fits into a larger ecosystem with Gainesville’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Center; Orlando’s Lake Nona, including Sanford Burnham and Torrey Pines; and Scripps Florida. Much of this growth has occurred in the past decade, with a doubling of the number of employees in this sector.
The initiatives for Applied Medicine & Human Performance outlined in the Regional Business Plan seek to capitalize on clusters of excellence in the Tampa Bay region by identifying these clusters through asset mapping, reinforcing the strengths of the region and filling any pivotal gaps that could impede the region’s development into a world leader in one or more of the identified clusters. The Tampa Bay Partnership’s role in the implementation of the plan is to support region-wide collaboration and communication among the academic, scientific, manufacturing and business stakeholders for the most promising clusters within the Applied Medicine & Human Performance sector, and to develop resources to support cooperation and expansion across the region in areas such as clinical trials, personalized medicine and human performance.
The Villages, a nationally known community home to more than 80,000 retirees, and USF Health have launched a long-term study on senior health and wellness, and will devise new models for care in aging populations.
“This will be a great example of how to identify and implement best practices on behalf of residents,” says Lee Huntley, CEO of The Villages Health System.
The Center for Retina & Macular Disease, located in Polk County, has conducted approximately 68 clinical trials in the past three years. One of its leading doctors, Michael Tolentino, is a member of the team implementing the Regional Business Plan initiatives for Applied Medicine & Human Performance. According to Tolentino, the opportunities provided by locating near a high concentration of patients with the right demographics for clinical trials provide advantages to both the clinic and the local population. The region’s aging population benefits from having the most advanced medicine and talent available, and the clinic is capable of enrolling large numbers of patients into its clinical trial programs.
USF’s CAMLS held its grand opening in March, introducing a destination for medical training in downtown Tampa. Tampa Bay is already home to one of the highest density clusters of medical device companies. CAMLS seeks to spur innovation in medical devices and entrepreneurship by partnering with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center to provide services to entrepreneurs and medical device companies. At CAMLS, these companies have access to surgeons already present for training or certification for evaluation of innovative instruments and devices.
Tampa Bay has an extraordinary opportunity to implement a transformative initiative that will allow this region and the larger high-tech corridor Super Region to do what only a few other areas in the country have been able to do: to develop a national brand as a center of excellence in medicine and human performance. The Regional Business Plan for Tampa Bay provides the comprehensive framework to do so.
To learn more, visit tampabay.org/RegionalBusinessPlan.