RUCDR Infinite Biologics christened its $10.8 million expansion today, a four-year project that enables the Rutgers University-based genetic research facility to dramatically enlarge processing and storage capacity.
The 10,500-square-foot addition, dubbed the Genomics Technology Center, enhances the Piscataway operation's ability to study causes of human disease, RUCDR founder and CEO Jay Tischfield said.
The new center includes mostly laboratories, with some office and storage space. The additional area was created through renovating existing space on the Allison Road building's second floor that was unused and not previously formatted for research work.
"We are at the point now where we have millions and millions of samples," Tischfield said. "As you can imagine, it would be a nightmare to keep everything in the right place, making sure nothing gets lost."
About $9.6 million of the project was funded by the federal stimulus package of 2009; the rest was paid by RUCDR funds, Tischfield said. RUCDR employs about 125, with 30 new net jobs created by the expansion, he said.
The new center will serve the National Institutes of Health, pharmaceutical companies, and other government and private-sector clients. Much of RUCDR's works focuses on understanding neuropsychiatric illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia and bulimia. It also pursues breakthroughs to help treat addictions.
Tischfield facility's workload has steadily increased since RUCDR opened 15 years ago, creating need for bigger quarters. The remodeled area is a hub for the processing and analytical work at RUCDR, which spans three buildings at Rutgers' Busch campus.
"We have been in constant building mode since we opened," Tischfield said. "And we're not finished yet."
Tischfiled expects demand for services to continue growing.
"I'm very excited. This facility will be operating at 100 percent capacity within three months," Tischfield said. "I bet if you can come back in five years, you will find a larger footprint. Whether it will be on this campus remains to be seen."
Established in 1998 along with a Department of Genetics at Rutgers University, RUCDR was first called the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository. It is the world's largest university-based biorepository, with annual revenue of about $30 million, mostly from private contracts and government grants.