With Record $275M Gift, Sanford-Burnham Unveils New 10-Year Plan

1/28/14Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute says today it has landed a $275 million pledge from an anonymous donor, just as the institute is embarking on a new 10-year strategic plan.

The plan sets forth a vision for aligning the nonprofit institute’s basic biomedical research, translational research, and drug discovery and development. In a statement this morning, the Sanford-Burnham also calls for extending small-molecule drug discoveries through pre-clinical validation as a way to strengthen the institute’s ties with its pharmaceutical partners, which include Takeda, Pfizer, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

“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,” says Kristiina Vuori, Sanford-Burnham president and interim CEO, in the statement.

The institute says its new $275 million pledge, payable over 10 years, is the largest philanthropic commitment it has ever received. Four years ago, the institute pulled in a $50 million donation from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The institute hopes to build on the latest gift by raising an additional $225 million over the next decade.

The institute also plans to explore a team-based approach to accelerate the pace of its biomedical discoveries by bringing together basic research scientists with clinical investigators. The concept includes the formation of “integrated disease teams” and “diversified translational laboratories” to quickly assess whether laboratory discoveries can be turned into practical applications for curing or preventing disease. The idea is to take advantage of the institute’s existing and new partnerships with healthcare organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Florida Hospital, and Sanford Health.

“The combination of expertise in human biology and state-of-the-art drug discovery technology under one roof sets Sanford-Burnham apart from its peer institutions,” Gregory Lucier, chairman of the institute’s board of trustees and the chairman and CEO of Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE).

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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