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AURORA, CO-The Aurora Economic Development Council is hosting a panel discussion this morning on the future of biotech at the Fitzsimons redevelopment at a former Army hospital here. The discussion, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, is titled: “Fitzsimons: Colorado’s Biotech Catalyst.”

The quarterly business series is sponsored by Northrop Grumman, a large employer here and an investor in the public-private partnership group, Aurora EDC. Speakers include: Jay Gershen, executive vice chancellor for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; Robert Olson, executive director for the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority; and Paul Ray, director for the Governor’s Office of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.

They will share their expertise on the acceleration of development of the UCHSC campus at Fitzsimons due to the authorization of certificates of participation signed into law April 28. James M. Mulligan, attorney at law for Fairfield & Woods, P.C., will moderate the event.

“The faster the UCHSC campus is built in Aurora, the greater the momentum of the development of Fitzsimons, a biotech hub and significant economic engine for Colorado,” Gershen says. “The $202 million of certificates of participation passed by state legislature will ensure and accelerate the construction of the UCHSC campus.”

“As one of Aurora EDC’s target markets, the biotechnology industry is expanding due to a pro-business attitude in Aurora,” adds Aurora EDC president Wendy Mitchell. “In fact, biotechnology is projected to be Colorado’s leading industry by 2010 and the development of UCHSC and Fitzsimons will be the catalyst to this prospering industry.”

Fitzsimons is the largest medical-related redevelopment project in the U.S. The $4.3 billion project is anchored by a new campus for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the affiliated 160-acre Colorado Bioscience Park Aurora, where 18 biotechnology companies have already set up operations.

The workforce at Fitzsimons is projected to reach 5,000 by the end of 2004 and to exceed 32,000 at completion.

The Aurora Economic Development Council is a public/private partnership dedicated to enhancing the economic strength of the city by recruiting new primary employers, retaining existing primary employers and assisting current primary employers to expand in the city.

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