Salk Institute, Scripps Research plans major expansions

The Salk Institute and Scripps Research, a pair of private San Diego science centers known around the world for their breakthroughs in fields ranging from cancer to COVID-19, will experience major expansions, fueling the already life science industry. flourishing region.

The two plan to develop new large research buildings in what could become a growth stream. Their neighbor, UC San Diego, is trying to raise millions to build a house for the new Wertheim School of Public Health as well as another stand-alone biomedical laboratory complex.

All four projects would likely cost up to $ 800 million and help solidify San Diego’s position as third largest life sciences cluster in the United States, based on data from CBRE.

Scripps Research will be the first to put a shovel in the ground. It will start building a $ 100 million lab and parking complex in La Jolla in November.

The center will strengthen Scripps’ ‘bench-to-bed’ science approach. The aim is to transform fundamental discoveries made in the laboratory into new drugs and therapies more quickly. The institute already owns a company, known as Calibr, which develops drugs.

Artist’s rendering of the $ 100 million research and parking complex that Scripps Research will build.

(Scripps Institute)

The new building is intended to develop the type of partnerships that have taken place between Calibr and neuroscientist Scripps Ardem Patapoutian, who shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for helping to discover cell receptors that enable people to feel heat, cold, pain, touch and sound.

Patapoutian’s basic research shows great promise to aid in drug development.

“These new facilities, specially designed to integrate our excellence in basic science with cutting-edge translational research and drug discovery, are emblematic of Scripps Research’s new model of seamlessly merging translational and basic science,” Peter G Schultz, chief executive of Scripps, said in a statement.

The new Scripps building will also have a specialized laboratory used for drug discovery for infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness. The institute has done a lot of work related to COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral drugs.

Nearby, the Salk Institute is starting a $ 500 million fundraising campaign to help fund a new science and technology center, as well as an expansion of its faculty and staff.

The center, which will cost around $ 250 million, will focus heavily on Salk’s specialties, including cancer, aging, neurodegenerative diseases, climate change, plant biology, and computational biology.

The institute has not yet assigned any laboratories. But the center could become the home of Tony Hunter, the famous Salk biochemist whose research helped create the important cancer drug Gleevec. Hunter celebrated his 50th working anniversary last week at Salk.

The institute is named after the late Jonas Salk, who developed the first effective polio vaccine in the 1950s.

The fundraising campaign “will take Salk to a whole new scientific level, providing space for the research we desperately want to do,” said Steven Johnson, a spokesperson for Salk.

The new building will be located a short distance from the famous twin laboratory towers and the central courtyard of the Salk. It will be the first significant addition to the Salk since 1995, when the institute added what is now known as the East Building.

The expansion will benefit the Greater San Diego economy, said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University.

“Because the life sciences are critically dependent on basic research, the expansion of these two facilities is good news,” said Reaser. “The field offers potential solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time, including health, climate, environment, energy and food supply. “

Life science research and development is a major driver of San Diego’s economy, directly employing more than 72,000 people.

“Including any multiplier or ripple effects, the total impact on the region last year was 178,000 jobs and $ 47.8 billion in total sales,” Reaser said.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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