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AMRIC CEO hopes to have renovated facility by 2015

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Feb 12, 2014 - 2:43 PM |
The Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada currently occupies 12,000 square feet of researcher space at Sudbury's Northeast Cancer Centre. An expansion to the former St. Theresa's School building on Walford Road, would add 20,000 square feet for research. File photo.

The Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada currently occupies 12,000 square feet of researcher space at Sudbury's Northeast Cancer Centre. An expansion to the former St. Theresa's School building on Walford Road, would add 20,000 square feet for research. File photo.

The $10- to $15 million project has not yet attracted provincial or federal funds

Thanks to $1.75 million in funding from the city, the CEO of the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada (AMRIC), said he expects to have a newly renovated facility by early 2015.

Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma said he expects renovations to begin at the former St. Theresa's School on Walford Road within a few months.

AMRIC currently employs roughly 60 researchers and support staff, half of whom have moved to the city over the past 18 months.

The research facility currently occupies 12,000 square feet of space on the second level of the Northeast Cancer Centre. Diaz-Mitoma has said a permanent facility is crucial to future recruitment of researchers, creating the sort of high-skilled, well-paying jobs the city covets.

Renovations at the St. Theresa building, are estimated to cost between $10 million and $15 million.

The addition would add 20,000 square feet of research space, and allow AMRIC to hire and accommodate more researchers.

In addition to the funding from the City of Greater Sudbury, AMRIC has lobbied the federal and provincial governments for $5 million each, toward the renovated facility.

Diaz-Mitoma said he is confident he will receive the funding, because both levels of government have already set a precedent with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.

“We're confident because this has happened in the past in Northern Ontario, it will be positive as well,” Diaz-Mitoma said.
Thunder Bay attracted more than $50-million in funding to launch the northwestern Ontario medical research facility in 2007.

Diaz-Mitoma's ultimate ambition is for a brand new $60-million facility that would expand AMRIC's total research space to 75,000 square feet.

AMRIC estimates a new facility would allow it to employ 160 people, create a number of spinoff jobs and add $42- to $48 million in economic activity for Sudbury.

In June 2013, Diaz-Mitoma asked city council to provide $10 million to help fund construction of its permanent facility. He said the goal was to have the provincial and federal governments fund the remaining $50 million, which he hoped would be complete by 2018.

But council hesitated to fund the less expensive renovations at the St. Theresa building.

When council was asked to provide $2 million for those renovations, Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said AMRIC should turn to private investment instead.

“It's a wonderful project, but I think it needs some private investment into it to make it flourish,” Matichuk said last year. “Pharmaceutical companies have billions and billions of dollars. I think they should be going back to the pharmaceutical companies and looking for money.”

Council later decided to donate $1.75 million to the project over five years.
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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