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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, January 2014
WEB Exclusive story
by Adam Bruns

Think Colorado is the only place looking to cash in on marijuana and the prospect of narcotourism? Don’t be so myopic: Kazakhstan has its own field of dreams.

Readers who saw our recent coverage of Alexandria Real Estate Equities and September interview with CEO Joel Marcus will want to check out The New York Times’ interview with Marcus published this month, wherein he shares, among other insights, the origins of his company’s name.

Speaking of Marcus, he was on hand in the Bay Area Jan. 14 for the opening of the new headquarters of digital health seed fund Rock Health in Alexandria’s 455 Mission Bay Boulevard South building in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. “Rock Health’s decision to start, stay and grow here in San Francisco is another example of why we are the Innovation Capital of the World,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. The new headquarters is flanked by the UCSF Mission Bay campus, including the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3).

“Our new home is the perfect place for our entrepreneurs to gain firsthand insights into the challenges of healthcare providers and the real life experience of patients,” said Rock Health CEO Halle Tecco, named one of 12 Entrepreneurs Reinventing Healthcare by CNN. “Our new Mission Bay location enhances our ability to collaborate and garner even more support and traction for the digital health movement.”

Venture funding of digital health approached $2 billion in 2013, with funding up over 119 percent since 2011. California continues to lead the way as a home base for funded digital health startups, with a third of all deals taking place in the Golden State, the majority in the Bay Area.

(l. to r.) San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee; Rock Health CEO & Co-founder Halle Tecco; Alexandria Real Estate Chairman, CEO & Founder Joel Marcus

Think aid money to fight public health battles and poverty is money wasted? Bill and Melinda Gates beg to differ, in their annual letter posted last week.

Provence Technologies, a specialist fine chemistry research group, and its subsidiary Provepharm, developers of pharmaceutical applications, this week announced an investment of €4 million to build their new 1,600-m. (17,223-sq.-ft.) head office in Marseille, France, tripling their footprint from their current space, which houses 30 employees. The increased floor space means that staff numbers at the group can expand up to three-fold in the medium term, to sustain strong growth in the business (Provepharm has expanded by 2,000 percent in five years).

“The new facilities mean that we can continue with our in-house R&D programs,” said Michel Feraud, chairman and CEO of Provence Technologies Group. “I would like to acknowledge the involvement of all our staff and the support provided by our partners. They have really helped the group to reach the next level of development.” The investment will also fund the launch of a specialist incubator for the healthcare sector, which the company called “something of a rare step for an SME.”

Think industry-academic partnerships aren’t fraught with ethical peril? The Center for Public Integrity examines the potentially questionable expertise offered by a late, lauded public health pioneer.

On Monday, Jan. 27, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), a national network of five hospitals that treat patients fighting complex and advanced-stage cancer, has selected Boca Raton as the site for its corporate headquarters. The company expects to employ 225 full-time staff, including executives who relocated from its current headquarters in suburban Chicago, and new hires. Several office sites are currently under evaluation. A release from the governor’s office said, “Florida's favorable business climate, coupled with the quality of life offered to residents of Boca Raton, and its proximity to three international airports, factored heavily in the company's decision to relocate.”

"Selecting Boca Raton as our new corporate headquarters represents a major step in positioning Cancer Treatment Centers of America to serve even more patients in the future, while simultaneously providing our dedicated and valued employees with exciting opportunities for further personal and professional development," said CTCA President and CEO Gerard van Grinsven. "We deeply appreciate the support we received from the State of Florida, the City of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County and its Business Development Board, under the leadership of President and CEO Kelly Smallridge, in coming to this decision. We also want to acknowledge the special efforts of Florida Governor Rick Scott and Enterprise Florida for their assistance with our evaluation of the benefits associated with our relocation."

Ottobock, a medical technology company known for prosthetics, announced this month it will expand its existing manufacturing and R&D center in Utah, at the expense of its longtime base in Minnesota. According to the Star Tribune, the company, founded in Germany in 1919, will shut down several of its Minnesota operations and move some 200 jobs to Utah; Austin, Texas; and Louisville, ky. Ottobock expects to add more than 80 new jobs in Utah in the coming years, 55 of which will be contracted with the state to pay a minimum of 125 percent of Salt Lake County’s average wage including benefits.

Participants are seen during the start of the Davos Health Challenge at the Annual Meeting 2014 of the World Economic Forum last week.
Photo by Rémy Steinegger copyright World Economic Forum/

Wearable technology firm Jawbone was central to the Davos Health Challenge last week at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Switzerland, where health challenges worldwide were a central theme. Delegates were invited to use the Jawbone UP wristband and app system to track their activity and sleep. "Health is a cornerstone of the Annual Meeting 2014, and the Davos Health Challenge encourages its 2,500 participants towards making healthy choices for food, drink and physical activity,” said Eva Jane-Llopis, director of Health Programmes at the World Economic Forum. Results were to have been released at a special session Jan. 25. But there is no word yet on how healthy those choices ended up being.

The Urban Land Institute next month will host its inaugural Building Healthy Places conference in Los Angeles, Calif. Taking place February 20-21, the conference will address how healthy building can be an economic driver for developers and cities. ULI recently embarked on an initiative to show the connection between healthy communities and economic prosperity. According to the chair of Environmental Health at UCLA’s School of Public Health, Dr. Richard J. Jackson, land “developers can be more effective in achieving public health than the doctors in white coats.”

Adam Bruns
Managing Editor of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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