Good News, but .........Based on current law, these funds will not be used for embryonic stem cell research in Pennsylvania.

Feb. 1, 2006

Program will Generate $1 Billion for Cutting Edge Medical Research

HARRISBURG — Inspired by the Pittsburgh doctor who developed a vaccine to protect people from polio in the 1950s, Governor Edward G. Rendell today launched a $500 million initiative that will help future generations of scientists rid children of their handicaps, heal people suffering with diabetes and restore those battling diseases, like Parkinson’s.

Standing with the son of renowned physician and scientist Dr. Jonas Salk, Governor Rendell said the initiative is called the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund, Accelerating Medical Research in Pennsylvania. The Governor explained that the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund will provide matching grants to the state’s leading bioscience researchers in academia and industry, meaning as much as $1 billion will be available to accelerate breakthrough research in Pennsylvania-based laboratories to treat, cure and prevent the most serious and life-threatening diseases.

“We are making an historic investment that will lead to healthier lives in Pennsylvania and all over the world for decades to come, just as Dr. Jonas Salk did when he discovered a vaccine against polio in 1955,” Governor Rendell said standing next to Dr. Peter L. Salk. “Children who suffer from the pain of their illnesses and those who are saddled with diseases thought incurable today need us now.

“The Jonas Salk Legacy Fund will provide dollar-for-dollar support to universities and academic research institutions focused on finding the next great cures. And, it will honor a man of integrity who not only saved thousands of lives with his breakthrough, but turned his back on millions of dollars by refusing to patent the new medicine.”

Besides the breakthroughs the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund could produce, the program, which will be included in the Governor’s 2006-07 budget, will also attract talented scientists and millions of dollars worth of private-sector investment to Pennsylvania, and support a diverse workforce. As many as 12,000 new jobs could result from the program’s deployment.

Already, the bioscience industry has experienced tremendous growth in Pennsylvania with Governor Rendell’s support and investments. Today, the state’s world-class research institutions, emerging and growing biotechnology firms, medical device and diagnostic companies, and global pharmaceutical companies are developing life-changing medicines. With the commonwealth’s support, these vital centers of research and development can do even more to improve the quality of life for people across the world while growing Pennsylvania’s economy.

“We must continue to be a leader in these important industries and provide them the resources to accelerate the pace of scientific progress,” the Governor said. “The Jonas Salk Legacy Fund will tackle tomorrow’s medical issues today and this investment will create jobs and fuel medical advancements that will solidify Pennsylvania’s reputation as an international biosciences center.”

Some 2,000 research facilities and related companies employ more than 84,000 Pennsylvanians today. Job growth in the bioscience industry has jumped 42 percent from 1999 to 2004, and wages for those workers have jumped a dramatic 82 percent.

“Obviously, today’s announcement is about more than just economic development; it’s about the health and future of every Pennsylvanian, and everyone who will benefit from the discoveries our research companies will make because of the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund,” Governor Rendell said. “I am committed to making investments in medical research that will improve the lives of our residents and have a positive impact on their health, as well as those around the world, by funding research that cures disease.”

In addition to increasing Pennsylvania’s strong research base, the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund will help bring new medicines and therapies to market.

To pay for the Legacy Fund, the Governor is proposing that the commonwealth use just under 10 percent of the state’s share of tobacco settlement funds as backing for the issuance of bonds.

Currently, 19 percent of Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement money funds research projects through a program administered by the Department of Health -- Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement, or CURE, program. Governor Rendell is proposing to use half of that money to make yearly payments on a $500 million bond issue that will then be administered and invested by the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund board. Based on current law, these funds will not be used for embryonic stem cell research in Pennsylvania. And, invested this way, the economic impact of the tobacco settlement fund will be accelerated and job-creating scientific advances will occur sooner than they would have under the existing CURE program.

The Jonas Salk Legacy Fund will be an independent body made up of university, medical research, bioscience and public agency representatives.

A portion of the money, will be used in “Starter Kits” to help academic medical centers, research colleges and universities and other facilities buy the tools and machines their scientists need to conduct their investigations and experiments.

The rest of the money, $400 million, will be used as grants and awarded to companies and institutions planning to build laboratories and incubators.

Each grant recipient must match the commonwealth’s investment dollar-for-dollar, meaning $1 billion could be poured into Pennsylvania’s world-class bioscience community for the betterment of Pennsylvanians and people all over the world.

“The family of Jonas Salk is deeply honored that Governor Rendell has chosen to link our father’s name to the visionary initiative that is being undertaken by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Peter L. Salk, M.D., Jonas’ son. “This initiative promises to advance the cause of bettering human health and prosperity through a significant investment in basic and applied bioscience research to address problems confronting humanity now and into the future.

“Pennsylvania’s new bioscience and health initiative is deeply resonant with the themes of Jonas Salk’s legacy, and promises to strengthen bioscience research, the application of this research, and public health practices for the betterment, not only of the citizens of Pennsylvania, but of the entire world. My dad often asked the question, ‘Are we being good ancestors?’ Through this new initiative, Governor Rendell and Pennsylvania are making sure the question can be answered affirmatively.”

For more information on the commonwealth’s investments in the biosciences industry and Governor Rendell’s other economic stimulus programs, visit, or call 1-866-GO-NEWPA (1-866-466-3972). For the latest news about Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine against polio and how it’s helping people all over the world today, visit