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Duke University To Be a Partner in Billionaire's N.C. Research Campus

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KANNAPOLIS, NC — Duke University will be a partner in the

North Carolina Research Campus

, the brainchild of billionaire David Murdock, who hopes to recruit 100 companies and create thousands of jobs at what has been called a "biopolis" complex.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the massive 311,000-square foot Core Laboratory on Thursday, Murdock announced that Duke would manage the facility and also locate its Institute for Translational Medicine on the campus. The institute's mission will be to translate discoveries into medical solutions.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University are already committed to supporting the campus. Murdock, the owner of Dole Food Company, is funding construction of the Core Lab with $150 million.

"This Core Lab building will be the catalyst for attracting new biotech jobs to the area and will serve as the home to a great collaboration of scientific study that will combine the intellectual power of North Carolina's incredible universities and scientists from private enterprise, working together to perhaps discover breakthroughs in health, nutrition and wellness that have the potential to change the world," Murdock said in a statement. "We are here to push back the frontiers of science."

The Core Lab is being built where a textile plant once stood. It is seen as becoming the centerpiece of the campus, which will cover 350 acres. The lab will be administered by a board of scientists from NCSU, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, Duke and the Dole Nutrition Institute, which will be based at the campus.

"No single lab in the world will be as complete as we have here," Murdock told The Charlotte Observer. "There is nothing like it under one roof."

The lab will contain the state's only 900 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer for analyzing and dissecting the structure of molecules into their component atoms. Two other NMR devices are also to be housed there.

The lab will contain a genomics facility, an imaging facility with electron microscopes and computers that will produce advanced three dimensional reconstructions, as well as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing facility that can produce both small molecules and biologics.

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