Announced at a joint seventieth birthday dinner held at LA BioMed's soon-to-open Medical Research Laboratory building, the gift will enable the institute to recruit and retain top researchers and provide needed support and infrastructure with maximum flexibility. The 78,000-square-foot facility will include offices, wet and dry labs, and an 18,000-square-foot incubator space that can accommodate between twenty and thirty biotech startups. Over the past twelve years, LA BioMed has spun off thirteen startups, including Emmaus Medical, which has developed a treatment for sickle cell disease, and NovaDigm Therapeutics, which is developing vaccines for fungal and bacterial infections.
As part of the gift, the Lundquists have asked that president and CEO David Meyer remain for five years to help deploy the new funding; Melanie Lundquist, who has served as an LA BioMed board member for six years, will remain on the board. In recognition of the gift, LA BioMed will be renamed the Lundquist Institute in the near future.
"It was important for us to do an unrestricted gift to provide the fuel to attract the best and brightest," said Melanie Lundquist. "I have been a member of the board of directors for many years, which has provided an inside look at the critical work being undertaken. We do our due diligence when we are considering philanthropic gifts — David and his team passed with flying colors. We are so excited for what he and his team will accomplish with our gift."