The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has made a gift of $6 million to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the two foundations announced today.
The gift, to be paid out in three annual installments of $2 million through 2010, will go toward construction of a new research tower at OMRF. That construction is expected to begin in the next year, and when complete, will nearly double OMRF’s current square footage.
“At so many crucial times in our history, the Noble Foundation’s vision and generosity have enabled OMRF to embrace the future of medical research,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “Today, the Noble Foundation’s support will once again allow OMRF—and medical research in Oklahoma—to take a giant step forward.”
As now planned, the new building will stand eight stories high and add approximately 180,000 square feet of state-of-the-art scientific and administrative space to OMRF’s campus. The tower will be built at the center of OMRF’s campus and will house dozens of new laboratories and several new core technology facilities. With the construction of the tower, OMRF will grow from its current size of 50 principal investigators and roughly 500 employees to approximately 80 investigators and a total of 800 employees.
The estimated total cost of the project is $125 million. OMRF projects that construction of the tower’s shell will be complete by 2010 and that employees will begin moving into the facility at that time.
“This research tower represents a transformative moment for OMRF,” said Michael A. Cawley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Noble Foundation. “The Noble Foundation is pleased to make this investment in OMRF, and we hope the dividends it pays will be longer, healthier lives for Oklahomans and mankind.”
According to OMRF’s Prescott, the new tower will allow OMRF to build its research programs in immunology, cardiovascular biology, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. It will also provide an opportunity for the foundation to strengthen its clinical and “translational” research programs—areas that focus on transforming laboratory discoveries into diagnostics and treatments for human disease.
“Never before has biomedical research moved ahead at the speed it does today,” said Prescott. “But if we do not avail ourselves of the latest advances, we risk being left behind. Investments like the Noble Foundation’s ensure that Oklahoma and OMRF will keep pace.”