Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Philanthropist Conrad Prebys Donates $10 Million for Drug Discovery

, January 29, 2009

San Diego philanthropist Conrad Prebys will donate $10 million to Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) to support the activities of Burnham’s drug discovery center, which is part of the world’s largest public drug discovery effort. Previously known as the Burnham Center for Chemical Genomics (BCCG), the newly renamed Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (CPCCG) comprises a multi-disciplinary, collaborative group of scientists at Burnham, who are working with some of the most sophisticated drug discovery technology outside of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Conrad Prebys understands the power and importance of this highly productive public/private partnership. His gift will enable us to advance discoveries farther and faster,” said Dr. John Reed, president & CEO, professor and Donald Bren Presidential Chair at Burnham.

Currently housed at Burnham’s La Jolla campus, the center will soon extend its capabilities and operations with a new state-of-art facility in Orlando, Florida where Burnham’s east coast campus will open in the spring. Burnham’s bi-coastal drug discovery center will be known as the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at both locations. When both facilities are fully operational, CPCCG will be capable of screening more than two million chemical compounds per day in order to discover novel prototypes for the next generation of medicines.

“I want to accelerate moving discoveries through to the patient. The idea of saving just one life is remarkable, but the opportunity to use this technology to find cures that will affect millions of people, that’s incredible.” says Prebys, a successful real estate investor. “The thing that attracted me to Burnham is the organization. It seems like it’s being run like a well-oiled machine.”

In September 2008, Burnham was awarded a $98 million grant to establish one of four comprehensive screening centers as part of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN). The network allows scientists from around the country to use the expertise and resources of the screening centers to identify possible drug candidates.

“I am personally grateful for Conrad’s grasp of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research’s mission and for his notably generous support of the Institute and many other deserving causes. It really shows what one man can do to help the human condition,” said Malin Burnham, chair of the Institute’s board of trustees.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

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