SYDNEY - The University of Queensland, in Brisbane, has raised A$55 million to build a major new center for biotechnology research, with A$10 million coming from an anonymous North American contributor.

To be known as the Biological Sciences Institute (BSI), the new center will be one of the largest such research facilities in Australia and the start of what the university hopes will be a biotechnology park full of companies using technologies developed at the institute.

John Mattick, director of the Co-operative Research Center for Molecular and Cellular Biology, based in Queensland, said the BSI will be built on vacant ground outside the gates of the university. He added there is plenty of additional land for other buildings.

When completed in 2000 or 2001, the center will combine the partially government-funded research centers for molecular and cellular biology; drug design and development; and microscopy and microanalysis.

In addition, the center will include the Australian National Genome Research Facility, but that facility will retain its independence.

Mattick said the BSI will be one of the first in the world to integrate genome research with cell biology, structural biology and bioinformatics.

He added the Queensland government, the university and the federal government all agreed to put in A$15 million each, but he could not give any details about the A$10 million private contribution - not even to say whether it was an individual or a corporation. He said the contributor was legitimate, but requested complete anonymity.

The running budget and equipment of the new center will be the present operating budgets and equipment of the existing centers. Mattick said further discussions will be required with funding bodies over the center's budget. *