Amgen donates $1 million to CU-Boulder Biotech Building

By Staff

Amgen, a leading biotechnology company with a Boulder County presence, has committed $1 million toward the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility that will greatly enhance science and education research and discovery at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The first phase of the building, which will comprise 257,000 square feet on the East Campus northwest of Colorado Avenue and Foothills Parkway, is slated for completion in late 2011, and will house the university's Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology (CIMB), the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Biochemistry Division of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The building has been instrumental in helping CIMB recruit a "dream team" of scientists and engineers led by Thomas Cech, 1989 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, who rejoined CU-Boulder's faculty in spring 2009 to lead the initiative.

"Dr. Cech has not only been a leader in his field, but has advanced opportunities for research for students throughout his career. Amgen's grant demonstrates our confidence in Dr. Cech's vision to further enhance research opportunities for undergraduates and aligns with our company's commitment to advancing science education and biotechnology research," said Dave Bengston, vice president of Colorado site operations at Amgen.

"Amgen's gift comes at a critical time in the construction of CU's new building, and it will allow full fit-out of laboratory space that would otherwise have been shell space," Cech says. "Equally exciting is the fact that this gift strengthens Colorado's already-strong relationship with this premier biotechnology company."

The building's 60 senior faculty, 500 staff, and hundreds of student inhabitants will work toward biotechnology solutions much as Amgen's research scientists have for 30 years. Amgen maintains manufacturing operations in Boulder and Longmont, with more than 900 staff members in Colorado.

With this gift, more than $25 million in private support has been raised for the building including a lead naming gift from CU-Boulder distinguished professor Marvin Caruthers, a member of Amgen's first scientific advisory board. With a $60 million commitment from the university, this comprises more than half the building's $145 million Phase I cost.