The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation announced that it is launching a $100 million fundraising effort. Proceeds from its “Imagine” campaign, which will be chaired by H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt, will go to extensive additions and renovations to OMRF’s 55-year-old facility, recruiting new scientists, building educational programs at the foundation, and significantly increasing the foundation’s endowment.
“Thanks to our past successes, OMRF now stands at the brink of a new threshold,” said OMRF President J. Donald Capra, M.D. “If we’re going to step boldly through the scientific doors our research has opened, we need to do it now.”
OMRF currently ranks 14th in the country among independent medical research institutes in National Institutes of Health Research funding. Over the past six years, OMRF’s NIH funding more than tripled, a rate unmatched by any other major independent medical research organization in the U.S. The work of its scientists has laid the foundation for a pair of life-saving drugs now on the market, and four other drugs with OMRF roots are currently in the final stages of human clinical trials.
“OMRF now stands among the nation’s elite independent medical research institutes by just about any measure—competitive research funding, patents per investigator, publications in leading journals,” says Capra. “We want to use that excellence as a springboard, a way to recruit more of the best and brightest minds to Oklahoma. At the end of the day, building our research capabilities means increasing our ability to make life-saving discoveries.”
Capra noted that physicians around the world are now testing new drugs for the treatment of stroke and heart attack that were born at OMRF. “Tomorrow, our labs could give birth to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, lupus or Lou Gehrig’s disease,” said Capra. “But for that to happen, we must have the tools to continue to recruit and retain top-caliber scientists.”
Proceeds from the new campaign will be used for a variety of projects, including:
- Recruiting 20 new research scientists by 2012;
- Adding two floors each to OMRF’s Massman and Acree-Woodworth Buildings;
- Constructing a new, state-of-the-art conference center and management building;
- Renovating portions of OMRF’s main building;
- Increasing the foundation’s endowment; and
- Supporting educational programs for elementary through high-school, college and graduate students.
“Each discovery at OMRF is made possible by the generosity of more than 200,000 Oklahomans who have supported this foundation since it was born in 1946,” said Capra. “This is truly Oklahoma’s medical research foundation, and I am confident that the caring, visionary people of this state will continue to invest in OMRF. Oklahomans have always recognized that an investment in medical research is an investment in the health of generations to come.”
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.