A biotech research facility has opened its Florida headquarters.

The La Jolla, Calif.-based Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies opened the doors Saturday to its chemistry and biology laboratories in Port St. Lucie. Scientists there will study a variety of medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDS.

Officials say the facility is expected to employ nearly 200 people by 2016.

The Torrey Pines Institute is the first research facility to open in a biotech hub developing among the citrus groves of St. Lucie County. Two other research institutes are scheduled to build facilities in the same 150-acre park.

Two more research facilities are planned in Jupiter, about 30 miles south.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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