Work will soon begin on a 200,000-square-foot building on the border of Shadyside and Bloomfield where some of Pittsburgh’s biggest names in medicine and engineering aim to make huge strides in immunotherapy.

“Two of Pittsburgh’s research powerhouses — the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh — unveiled plans Tuesday for a new $200 million immunotherapy center that could open the door to new innovation in this field. The UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC) will use immunotherapies to tackle health challenges in cancer care, transplants and aging,” GeekWire wrote about the announcement.

“We are here today to announce not only the latest collaboration between Pitt and UPMC, but also the creation of a transformative partnership,” University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said during an announcement of the project.

UPMC will largely fund and operate the center, located at 5000 Baum Blvd.,  which will house offices and laboratories — and eventually space for startups and industry partners — all under one roof. The focus of the medical research, GeekWire says, will be on using new immune science to help transplant recipients live healthier lives and on tackling cancer treatments in new ways.

But the goal in creating this hub of immunotherapy research is also to keep the progress here in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Steve Shapiro, UPMC’s chief medical and scientific officer, told GeekWire that this new workspace and the funding it includes will help UPMC and Pitt researchers turn their work into viable commercial products. He described the $200 million as a “venture fund” that will seed those ideas and quickly develop them in-house, rather than leaving researchers to battle for external grant money and seek corporate partners elsewhere.

“Research is always done by a community, not just by one person, so our ability to bring them together in this one place, where they can really interact and collaborate, I think is going to bring a lot of synergy to the research,” Mark Shlomchik, chair of Pitt’s Department of Immunology, said in a statement.

“The potential there is great for putting researchers next to incubator companies and small companies,” Schlomchik said, “so that we can much more quickly and immediately take things that we learn in the lab and start the process of developing them and bringing them to patients.”

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The...