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Science & Technology

San Diego Research Institute $100M Richer Thanks To Conrad Prebys

Conrad Prebys is shown in this undated photo.
Scripps Health
Conrad Prebys is shown in this undated photo.
San Diego Research Institute $100M Richer Thanks To Conrad Prebys
In his largest donation to date, San Diego billionaire Conrad Prebys is giving $100 million to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

In his largest donation to date, San Diego billionaire Conrad Prebys is giving $100 million to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

"The idea that you can reduce suffering and extend a useful life is pretty heady stuff," Prebys said Wednesday at an event held on the Sanford-Burnham campus to celebrate the donation. "I'm proud to be part of that now."

The gift was substantial enough to bring with it a new name for the institute. Old Sanford-Burnham signs on campus were already being replaced with signs bearing the institute's new name, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.

Institute executives said the money will help fast-track drug discovery and translate lab findings into real-world therapies.

In a press release, Sanford-Burnham CEO Perry Nisen said the donation will enable scientists "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."

Prebys made his fortune in local real estate after moving to San Diego in 1965. He has previously donated to San Diego State University, the Salk Institute, Scripps Health and the La Jolla Music Society.

Prebys said a childhood illness that left him bedridden for a year made him realize the importance of advancing medicine.

His donation builds on an anonymous $275 million gift Sanford-Burnham received in 2014.

Corrected:
Disclosure: Prebys is a financial supporter of KPBS.