Piper Trust to Invest $50 Million in Personalized Medicine Over 5 Years
Initiative Aims to Attract 10 Distinguished Leaders to Maricopa County Research Institutions
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (January 15, 2006) – The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust today announced plans to invest up to $50 million over the next five years to attract 10 of the world’s most distinguished leaders in the development of personalized medicine to the Valley. The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s Initiative in Personalized Medical Science and Technology will enable recognized research institutions in Maricopa County to attract 10 Piper Chairs – leading scientists, engineers and clinicians in the fields of bioscience, nanotechnology and advanced information technology who are working to advance personalized medicine.
Described as the basis of a “medical revolution,” personalized medicine will allow doctors to develop individual strategies for the detection, treatment and prevention of diseases based on a person’s genetic make-up.
“This initiative supports ongoing endeavors to propel Arizona’s bioscience industry to national prominence,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, Ph.D., president and CEO of The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “We are part of a much larger collaborative effort that will have long-term impact on the region’s economy and directly benefit the residents of Maricopa County. Personalized medicine promises a new level of medical care that utilizes diagnostic methods and treatment based on genetic information.”
Through the personalized medicine initiative, the Piper Trust in the next five years will provide up to 10 $5 million grants. Each grant will include $4 million for enhanced research; $500,000 for research by undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the chair’s research team; and $500,000 for a Piper Prize in Personalized Medicine to recognize the Piper Chair’s stellar achievements. The recipient institutions recruiting the Piper Chairs will provide funds for salaries for the chair and laboratory facilities.
Between the Trust’s investment and the funding by the recipient institutions, the amount of new dollars invested into Maricopa County’s economy will be upward of $100 million.
The Piper Trust will invite institutions potentially eligible for these grants – including universities, research institutes and hospitals – to meet and determine how the finest talent can be identified, which institutions are prepared to forge partnerships and provide matching funds, and how appointments may be sequenced.
The appointments themselves will represent partnerships among the Valley’s various research institutions, since each Piper Chair will be required to hold joint appointments at more than one university, research institute or hospital operating in Maricopa County. They also will support the collaborative efforts underway to build the Valley’s bioscience capabilities.
In addition to working with potential grant recipients, the Trust will look to an independent scientific advisory committee of national experts who will review the recommended appointments and provide advice throughout the process.
While the new Personalized Medical Science and Technology Initiative is ambitious, it was a logical next step that grew from both the investment focus established in the Piper Trust’s initial years of grantmaking and from Virginia Piper’s longstanding interest in cutting-edge medical research and state-of-the-art clinical care. In its first five years, the Trust made several individual investments totaling nearly $25 million in the field of cancer and bioscience research.
Moving forward, the Trust will continue to focus on several key strategic initiatives as well as award individual grants to local nonprofits within each of the six areas in which it funds, noted Mohraz, adding that the Trust anticipates making total annual awards of more than $26 million to nonprofits throughout Maricopa County.
“We are looking at larger-scale initiatives across all our grantmaking areas to increase the impact of our investments,” Mohraz emphasized.
Other strategic investments in which the Piper Trust is investing include an educational support program for new parents, innovative centers to engage older adults, a reading remediation program for failing elementary school readers and a regional arts and culture program.