Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory broke ground Thursday on a $75-million project to build a new Center for Therapeutics Research that will apply the lab’s biomedical expertise to advance treatment of genetic diseases.

The new center will support the renowned lab’s continuing advancements in fundamental biology research in the areas of breast cancer, leukemia, autism, obesity/diabetes and lung cancer therapeutics, officials said.

“The faster you get these inventions, these discoveries to market, the more you help people,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, noting that New York State is investing $25 million in the project. “You can literally save lives. And Cold Spring harbor has done that.”

Since being founded in 1890, the lab has won eight Nobel Prizes for its breakthroughs in molecular biology and genetics, most notably for James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

The new 26,000-square-foot research facility will be one of the nation’s most innovative centers, where dozens of scientists will be integrating biology and human genomics with chemistry and protein data, officials said. It will be located in the newly renovated Demerec Lab.

Chemists will take targets produced from biologists and refine them for next-generation therapies that will form the basis of new partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry—the goal being to develop the most advanced drug compounds targeted to the underlying biological pathway, officials said.

The center is expected to be completed at the end of next year. The remaining $50 million is expected to come from grants, donations and academic partnerships.

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