5:31 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Legal Dispute Between Universities Could Impact Future of Monkey Colony Research in Forsyth County

Wake Forest University Health Sciences is suing UCLA over a monkey colony that is used for genetics-based research and other medical testing at a Primate Center in Forsyth County. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Thursday.

There are more than 400 vervet monkeys in the colony at the Wake Forest Primate Center. The animals are used for biomedical studies and research projects.
Credit By: Sergey Yeliseev via flickr

According to the lawsuit, Wake Forest University Health Sciences is seeking to recover more than $330,000 it claims UCLA has failed to provide for a primate center.

In 2007, the two universities formed the joint venture to provide a research facility for a colony. Wake Forest invested $2 million for the new primate center. The plaintiff says the monkey colony has operated at a deficit after failing to land adequate federal research funding.

Wake Forest is asking the court to end the joint venture with UCLA, which would allow the university to sell some of the center’s assets.

But UCLA contends it committed $200,000 annually to cover operating losses through 2011, with the thought that the research activities would be self-sustaining by then. UCLA also claims Wake Forest has mismanaged finances related to the research operation.

The primate center caught the public’s attention last July, when an 8-pound monkey went missing from a holding facility. The monkey was captured in a residential area nearly two weeks later. The animals are used for genetic

The center is nestled on a large farm southeast of Clemmons, N.C. The site houses more than 400 vervet monkeys.

A hearing on the legal dispute between the two universities will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11 at the federal building in downtown Winston-Salem.