Hawaii is well-positioned to become a leader in specific life science sectors. Hawaii is the most ethnically diverse state in the US, and therefore is a prized location for pharmaceutical development and trials. The University of Hawaii (UH) has recently opened its John A. Burns School of Medicine on Oahu. The $150 million complex is one of the most technologically advanced medical facilities in the world. It will be complemented by a UH Cancer center and Kamehameha Schools biotech laboratory space. Further, Hawaii is in the forefront of drug discovery from marine organisms, probably the most important source of new compounds over the next several decades.
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Hawaii’s access to multiple ocean environments and remote geographical location make it an ideal location for aquaculture of unique species of algae, plants, animals, and fish. Over 30 different species of plants and animals are currently raised via aquaculture in Hawaii, including microalgae, shrimp, abalone, seaweed, tilapia and various organisms for the aquarium trade. Key areas for venture investment include novel farming processes for highly marketable deep-sea fish, and farming of new microorganisms capable of producing biofuels and pharmaceuticals.