PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) today provided an update on the orderly wind-down of its operations, including plans to turn over remaining assets to its two creditors, the City of Port St. Lucie (PSL) and the State of Florida. VGTI Florida also reported that it has fully completed the shut down and decommissioning process with all labs and equipment professionally sanitized. This effort was coordinated with the appropriate regulatory agencies to ensure a safe and secure facility. Additionally, the 100,000 sq.ft. biomedical research building’s overall safety was audited by a third-party, independent biosafety consulting firm.
Despite ongoing litigation with the City of Port St. Lucie (PSL), VGTI Florida has been cooperating with PSL’s staff and representatives in sharing the details of its wind-down plan. These communications have been voluntary and have been occurring outside of the formal legal discovery process. PSL’s staff and representatives have toured VGTI Florida on multiple occasions in recent weeks and have been granted full access to the entire facility to inspect contents and confirm safety.
Despite VGTI Florida’s offer to transfer ownership of the facility to PSL by October 1, 2015, City Hall is not yet prepared to take title. The parties are in the process of negotiating the terms of an agreed court order appointing a receiver over the building to manage and protect it until PSL finalizes its plans for the building. In the interim, VGTI Florida has retained the company, WorkingBuildings, a leading, international, quality assurance consulting firm with extensive expertise in laboratory management and operations. WorkingBuildings will continue to maintain the VGTI Florida facility and all equipment until the building is turned over to the receiver.
Most of the equipment at VGTI Florida was purchased with grant funding from the State of Florida. VGTI Florida has been cooperating with State officials to ensure a proper transfer of those assets back to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and other relevant State agencies.
All of VGTI Florida’s remaining Port St. Lucie employees will be laid off by the end of today. Institute founder, Jay Nelson, Ph.D., will serve as Chairman, President and CEO until the legal entity is dissolved.
While VGTI Florida’s closure is greatly disappointing, the Institute offers its heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the State of Florida, our local legislative delegation and to the residents of Port St. Lucie and surrounding Treasure Coast communities. In a continued spirit of partnership, VGTI Florida has been assisting the St. Lucie Economic Development Council (EDC) and Enterprise Florida in their efforts to market the facility to potential buyers and/or tenants. VGTI Florida remains committed to maximizing the value of its remaining assets for the benefit of the State of Florida and City of Port St. Lucie.
About VGTI Florida:
The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) is an independent, 501(c)(3), non-profit, biomedical research institute established in 2008. For more information, please visit: www.vgtifl.org.