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January 12, 2022


Scripps Research sees strong growth in technology licensing revenues and philanthropic donations Financial support will fuel fundamental scientific breakthroughs and development of new medicines.

January 12, 2022

LA JOLLA, CA Scripps Research today announced record funding for the fiscal year 2021 of $146 million from technology licensing and philanthropic donations, financial support that will drive critical scientific research and the translation of groundbreaking discoveries into life-changing medical therapies.

In addition to crucial funding from the National Institutes of Health and other government sources, support of the institute from philanthropic foundations, private donors, and funding from industry licensing partnerships has grown more than tenfold over the past five years.

Scientific research is one of the best investments we can make as a society, and that is especially true when we are able to translate seminal discoveries into much-needed new medicines, says Peter Schultz, President and CEO of Scripps Research. The generosity of our supporters and vital partnerships with foundations and industry fuel the scientific excellence and human health impact for which Scripps Research is known.

In recent years, Scripps Research has amplified its investments in basic science through its successes in the development of medicines based on discoveries made in institute labs. For example, Zeposia (ozanimod), a drug invented at Scripps Research by professors Hugh Rosen, MD, PhD, and Edward Roberts, PhD, and already approved for multiple sclerosis, received an additional FDA approval in 2021 for ulcerative colitis.

Through this innovative business model, the institute has seen dramatic growth in funding from licensing partnerships with biopharma companies, from $7.2 million in FY2017 to over $100 million in FY2021. The institute has also seen growth in philanthropic giving, with donations rising from $7 million per year in FY2017 to over $40 million in FY2021. These funds provide flexibility for education, hiring, and research beyond the more focused federal support for research.

In addition to licensing and philanthropy, annual funding from major nonprofit foundations in FY2021 to Calibr and other Scripps Research programs was over $30 million. Since being founded in 2012, Calibr has received over $194 million in committed grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Thanks to this significant support, Scripps Research broke ground in November on a new building that will house chemical biology and translational sciences investigators, endowed 100 training fellowships for graduate students in its top-10-ranked Skaggs graduate program, and endowed five new faculty chairs.

The institute's positive financial trajectory is mirrored by the recognition its faculty have received over the past year. For example, Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, a professor in the Dorris Neuroscience Center at Scripps Research, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking work in understanding the sense of touch. Chemistry professor Jeff Kelly, PhD, won a Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his invention of tafamidis, a drug now approved for protein folding diseases. Chi-Huey Wong, PhD, also a professor of chemistry, won the prestigious Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry for his pioneering work in glycobiology.

Over the past year, our researchers have made numerous seminal discoveries that fundamentally change our understanding of nature and enable innovations that improve lives around the globe, says Schultz.

Schultz notes several examples of discoveries and inventions in chemistry, structural/computational biology, immunology and neuroscience, as well as advances in deciphering the mechanisms underlying a range of diseases. These include the discovery by Lisa Stowers, PhD, of biology that could lead to a better understanding of autism and depression; development by Jin-Quan Yu, PhD, of a new synthetic method for transforming simple hydrocarbons into complex, valuable compounds; and research by Howard Hang, PhD, that uncovered how bacteria in the digestive tract improve the efficacy of cancer drugs.

Schultz noted that the institute's translational research activities are also thriving, with a number of drug candidates in the works. Calibr, the drug discovery division of Scripps Research, has advanced six medicines into human clinical trials and six additional programs will enter the clinic in the next two years, with a rich pipeline behind that. Included are a potential best-in-class antiviral for COVID-19, long-acting chemical and protein-based vaccines for HIV, and protective therapies that harness the body's own defense mechanisms for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Schultz also highlighted Scripps Research Translational Institute, another translational division of the institute, headed by Eric Topol, MD, which continues to make major impacts in precision medicine and is taking on a leadership role in the nonprofit sector in digital medicine to understand maternal health and the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Schultz says, 2021 was a terrific year for Scripps Research and the institute is well positioned to accelerate its impact on science, medicine, and education in the coming years.

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