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News Release

John Moores Makes Contribution to The Scripps Research Institute to Create New Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases

La Jolla, CA, July 13, 1998 -- The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announces the establishment of a new Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases on its campus in La Jolla, California. Its purpose is to apply the new molecular understanding of biology to address, reduce and treat recalcitrant illnesses in two major categories childhood diseases, and neglected diseases that effect populations primarily in developing countries. A unique collection of 26 exceptional automobiles has been contributed as a lead gift for this new effort by businessman, San Diego Padres owner, and philanthropist John Moores and his wife, Becky.

The new initiative will build on the strength that TSRI has achieved at the nexus of biology and chemistry through the establishment of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, according to TSRI President and CEO, Richard A. Lerner, M.D.

He continued, "The extraordinary generosity of the Moores family will make it possible for The Scripps Research Institute to take the deluge of knowledge amassed by the Human Genome Project and uncover a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying human disease than has ever been possible before. Scientists will undertake a systematic effort to study not only the genes themselves but the interactions between them. Over the long term, we expect that this approach will lead to medical achievements that are unimaginable with current technology. Further, our ability to integrate the activities of this new entity with The Skaggs Institute should enhance our efforts to alleviate human suffering through a multiplicity of scientific discoveries."

Scientists believe that biology and medicine in the coming century will look very different from the way they do now. The human genome, the totality of genetic information inside the human body, is expected to be deciphered in the next three years. For the last several years, scientists have been isolating individual genes, lately at an accelerating pace. The identity of these genes has yielded glimpses inside the machinery of the body. But it has been difficult to look at genes in the larger context of how they interact with each other and with their surroundings in the cell and the body. Further, the regulatory mechanisms that have been discovered frequently turn out to be small parts of the larger, more complex cascades.

Scientists at TSRI are preparing to apply the burgeoning knowledge of genes and their interactions to specific childhood and early-onset diseases. The creation of the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases will bring together scientists from throughout the world to investigate such diseases as childhood cancers and leukemias, cystic fibrosis, Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy, and autism. In addition, TSRI and Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, have begun initial discussions on ways in which the two organizations can collaborate to improve the health of children locally and internationally.

Blair Sadler, President and CEO of Children's Hospital commented, "Each year Children's Hospital and its affiliated physicians provide services to more than 350,000 children. We are excited by the opportunity to combine our depth of clinical experience in pediatric medicine with the extraordinary scope and quality of science offered by the Institute. We believe that this collaboration will reinforce importantly the missions of both institutions."

The majority of the world's population those who live in developing countries has not yet reaped the benefits of the genetic revolution. But some effective initiatives have been launched, and the new Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases will use the latest advances in biology in an effort to find novel treatments for widespread and often devastating parasitic diseases.

As biologists have begun to learn how human genes function, they also have begun to investigate the genes of parasites and other disease-causing organisms. These recent efforts promise to bring advances in fighting diseases still rampant in the developing world.

The World Health Organization has named a handful of "target diseases" in its tropical disease research program. They include the parasitic diseases malaria, schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis, and leishmaniasis that collectively endanger some 500 million people and kill nearly two million people each year. The Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases plans to build on the work of a number of TSRI scientists in such areas as schistosomiasis and malaria and will focus its efforts on understanding the mechanisms of action in major parasitic diseases.

The new Institute will include state-of-the-art research laboratories in a facility to be constructed on TSRI's campus on the east side of North Torrey Pines Road. The project architects are Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, who designed The Neurosciences Institute.

The initial fundraising effort for the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases has been undertaken by a generous group of automotive enthusiasts, including John Moores, and spearheaded by the owners of the Symbolic Motor Car Company in La Jolla, Bernard and Marc Chase and Bernard Glieberman.

TSRI has an ongoing relationship with the community of car collectors, having been the beneficiary of the Torrey Pines Concours d'Elegance for the past two years. These collectors have offered to donate a number of rare and exotic automobiles, the proceeds of which will be contributed to the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases. Four such cars including one of John Moores' NART Spyders valued at more than $2.5 million will be auctioned at the upcoming Christie's Auction of Exceptional Automobiles at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, August 16. In addition, several other cars from Mr. Moores' collection will be auctioned that weekend at the Monterey Sportscar Auction presented by RM Classic Cars and at an auction sponsored by Brooks USA. As a gesture of appreciation, TSRI will make available a portion of the new facility in which collectable items of automobilia will be displayed by donors.

According to Bill Evans, President of the Evans Hotel Group and Chairman of the Torrey Pines Concours d'Elegance, "We are delighted that the Concours will benefit the new Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases at TSRI. The generosity of the Moores family is greatly appreciated and we are hopeful that others will follow their example."

The Scripps Research Institute is the country's largest, private, non-profit biomedical research organization. Its full-time faculty of 240 includes fourteen members of the National Academy of Sciences and one Nobel Laureate. Housed in more than 700,000-square-feet of laboratory space, they are supported by some 2,000 technical and administrative employees. Its scientists conduct investigations in such areas as molecular biology, chemistry, immunology, cell biology, the neurosciences, molecular and experimental medicine, and vascular biology.


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