Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute today said it is more than halfway toward its goal of raising $500 million over the next decade after receiving its largest-ever philanthropic commitment—an anonymous $275 million pledge payable over 10 years.
The gift is intended to help launch implementation of the new 10-year strategic vision, designed to accelerate the Institute’s impact on improving human health through an emerging research model intended to encourage greater innovation by aligning basic biomedical research, translational research, and drug discovery and development.
“This exceptional generosity sets our vision in motion, and cements the stature of Sanford-Burnham as a global leader in translational biomedical research,” Gregory T. Lucier, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Trustees and chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, said in a statement.
Sanford-Burnham said it will accelerate its pursuit of research into fundamental mechanisms of human biology and disease, and development of innovative, personalized therapeutic approaches, past the point where nonprofit institutes traditionally hand off their scientific discoveries to commercial partners.
The institute also said it will promote more communication between basic and clinical researchers through both existing and new partnerships with healthcare organizations that include Mayo Clinic, Florida Hospital, and Sanford Health.
“Our strategic vision will enable us to speed cures to patients through an expanded network of partnerships with organizations that share our mission to conquer disease,” said Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham president and interim CEO. “Our ultimate goal is to translate basic research discoveries into innovative therapeutics that have a tangible impact on people’s lives.”
In addition, Sanford-Burnham said it was exploring teaming up basic research and clinical investigators—through Integrated Disease Teams and Diversified Translational Laboratories—to address unmet medical needs and speed up discoveries. The teams would rapidly gauge the relevance of laboratory findings for curing or preventing human disease.
Another avenue by which Sanford-Burnham intends to speed up translation of discoveries is by leveraging its small molecule drug discovery platform. The institute said it will refine drug candidates through preclinical validation to facilitate stronger partnerships with pharmas, such as those it maintains with Takeda Pharmaceutical, Pfizer, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
“This more robust therapeutics-discovery engine is expected to generate future revenue for the Institute by partnering with the commercial sector,” Sanford-Burnham said.
Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit , independent institute that employs 1,200 scientists and staffers in San Diego (La Jolla), CA, and Orlando (Lake Nona), FL.