With a goal to become an innovation hub in the D.C. region, the Board of Supervisors recently approved zoning changes that will help the Inova Health Care System to bring to life its advanced research and treatment center in Merrifield.
The hospital system is investing more than $1 billion into its ventures at the new center, with an estimated $918 million in economic impact.
The board’s action allows Inova to convert office space on its 117-acre campus for research and education uses. It gives Inova the flexibility to use 450,000 square feet for research and 75,000 square feet for college and university uses.
Inova is revamping ExxonMobil’s former campus into an international destination for personalized medicine. It is bringing together doctors, scientists and biotechnology companies to study, prevent and treat diseases based on a person’s genetic makeup.
“Inova appreciates the Board of Supervisors’ approval of our application to expand potential uses of existing buildings at the Inova Center for Personalized Health,” said Todd Stottlemyer, CEO, Inova Center for Personalized Health. “The board’s approval facilitates the transformation of this campus to a hub for innovation, research, and education that will benefit Fairfax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The center includes the Translational Medicine Institute, Schar Cancer Institute, education center and startup accelerator.
During the past two years, Inova entered into partnerships with George Mason University and the University of Virginia. These will bring researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs to the Inova’s campus.
George Mason, for example, will create a joint center for proteomics, the study of proteins, at the campus, and UVA will develop a genomics and bioinformatics research institute, as well as establish a regional campus for its medical school.
The campus also will house an investment fund and startup accelerator. Inova says that it plans to invest $100 million over the next three to five years directly in companies and in health and technology venture funds. Its accelerator will work with six to eight companies a year to provide education, startup capital and access to Inova’s resources.
In its efforts to diversify and expand the economy, Fairfax County wants to create innovation hubs, like Inova’s, to stimulate more research and development activity and foster the growth of more startups. These are key actions under the county’s strategic Economic Success Plan.