TGen History

On February 7, 2002 an assembly of more than fifty leaders and visionaries in science, medicine, government and business gathered at the Arizona state capitol to discuss the possibility of establishing Arizona as a player in the new economy of the biotechnology industry. Their goal was to set up a one-of-a-kind genomics research institute.

A positive group consensus decided the idea was not only feasible, but represented a unique opportunity for Arizonans to rally together for a shared vision into the future. With an unprecedented cooperative spirit, the group rallied to the task of securing support for TGen on the order of $90 million; they achieved this fundraising goal in a five-month window.

Less than a year after that initial gathering in the Governor's office, TGen began operations.

Beginnings

The concept for TGen originated with Dr. Jeffrey Trent, an internationally recognized scientist, who envisioned an institute where many of the world's leading scientists would turn breakthroughs in genetic research into medical advances benefiting patients and their families.

When he began sharing his vision with others, the word soon spread - all the way to the office of Arizona’s Governor's. It wasn't long after that Governor Jane Dee Hull appointed the Arizona BioInitiative Task Force, whose goal was to turn Arizona into a leader in the bioscience economy.

A native Phoenician, Trent knew Arizona. He believed TGen would be good for Arizona's economy, bringing collaborative partnering in the state and the accompanying knowledge-based businesses that co-locate with major research institutions.

Leadership

Research and Administrative Team who set strategic goals for TGen

TGen Board of Directors / Governors

We are grateful for the vision and guidance of this volunteer board

TGen Foundation Board of Directors

These individuals provide leadership and guidance for TGen Foundation

City of Hope

In 2016, TGen joined City of Hope to make precision medicine a reality for all

The Challenge

The task force went to work, and its ardent commitment generated remarkable results. Key contributors came aboard. The universities and colleges pledged resources and faculty support; the Flinn Foundation pledged $10 million; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust contributed $5 million. The City of Phoenix constructed the research facilities. Healthcare providers, local corporations and private individuals contributed as well.

By April 2002, the task force had raised $80 million. A delegation of state leaders flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with Dr. Trent and learn first-hand the benefits of genomic research.

Back in Arizona, the pieces continued to fall into place. Early in May 2002, Governor Hull signed SB 1270 for $5 million over 10 years for genomic research. Later in the month, the Governor signed a second bill providing $25 million over five years, for a total state commitment of $30 million. The final piece to the economic puzzle fell into place on June 8, 2002, when the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community pledged $5 million. Their participation in the effort drew appreciation from across the state and across the nation.

The task force had accomplished what some thought impossible: raise $90 million to establish TGen in Arizona.

The New Face of Genomics

TGen officially launched in June 2002. Arizona Public Service provided interim office space to TGen for administrative offices in the Arizona Center. Banner Health System, in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, donated temporary lab space in their Tempe facility.

During that time, the City of Phoenix began moving forward with its development of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a 15-acre research and education project located in downtown Phoenix, which would house TGen and other bioscience entities.

Nearly 18 months after breaking ground, TGen moved into its state-of-the-art headquarters. Officials from TGen and the City of Phoenix joined with Senator Jon Kyl, Governor Janet Napolitano, Mayor Phil Gordon, and more than 500 guests to celebrate the building dedication and ribbon cutting in March 2005. Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, delivered the keynote address.

Today, the biomedical campus is an integral piece of the statewide bioscience initiative as the faculty contribute significantly to biomedical discoveries, the quality of health care for Arizona's residents and the expansion and diversification of the state's economy.

The campus provides a unique, energetic environment that attracts biotech and related companies to Phoenix and Arizona through business opportunities in R&D, collaboration, partnering, and office expansion.