The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute announced Wednesday that it has received a gift of $100 million from prominent San Diego developer and philanthropist Conrad Prebys.
In recognition of the gift, the institute will change its name to Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, effective June 24.
This gift marks the largest donation ever made by Prebys.
“A gift of this magnitude is significant in many ways,” said Perry Nisen, CEO of Sanford-Burnham. “It enables us to conduct translational research to advance laboratory discoveries and clinic-ready drug candidates further along the development pipeline, progressing toward therapies, preventions, and cures for patients who desperately need them.”
The institute will focus in the areas of cancer, autoimmune, metabolic disorders and neuroscience, Nisen said at a press conference.
“This gift is coming at a time when it's never been harder for our scientists,” Nisen said. “Funding from the NIH supports about 1 in 10 meritorious grants. It’s harder and harder to establish partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, and it’s really difficult for venture capital to invest in startups. But from the very beginning of this institute, it’s benefitted from an extraordinarily generous and committed philanthropic community in San Diego. If not for that support, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Prebys previously donated $11 million to the institute, including $10 million in 2009 to support the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics. His investment helped establish the drug discovery platform that is critical to Sanford-Burnham’s new emphasis on advancing laboratory discoveries to clinic study and gaining commercial interest in institute assets.
Last year, Sanford-Burnham received a transformative gift from an anonymous donor. Including the Prebys gift, the institute has received more than $375 million toward a $500 million, 10-year fundraising goal.
Since 2014, Sanford-Burnham has received two of the five largest philanthropic donations to medical research in California.