Wistar Institute Announces $35 Million Capital Campaign

Wistar Institute Announces $35 Million Capital Campaign

September 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – (September 23, 2011) – The Wistar Institute, an international leader in basic biomedical research, today announced a five-year, $35 million capital campaign, Building Wistar, Changing the World. The campaign, which to date has raised over $18.5 million in a “quiet” phase, will support Wistar’s first major building expansion in 35 years, and ensure the Institute’s future at the forefront of cancer research and vaccine development.


Concurrent with the campaign launch, the Institute today announced plans to build a new, seven-story, 89,700-square-foot research tower, which will rise above its current historic facility at 36th and Spruce streets in University City. The project will enable Wistar to expand its research operations, recruit new scientific faculty and pursue collaborative biomedical research in emerging areas of science.


“I believe passionately in the importance of expanding The Wistar Institute at this critical moment in time,” said Wistar trustee Robert A. Fox, chair of the Building Wistar, Changing the World capital campaign. “The way biomedical research is conducted is evolving, and we must follow suit. A laboratory is no longer simply a room where individual researchers toil at their benches. It’s a multidisciplinary space, where collaboration is key and open communication is paramount. This is the vision driving our campaign.”


Five of the floors in Wistar’s new research tower will house laboratories designed to support team science, an approach that reflects the future of biomedical research. With flexible, open floor plans and next generation equipment and facilities, each laboratory floor will accommodate up to four principal investigators and their laboratory staffs. The scientists, with different yet complementary areas of expertise, will literally come together to collaborate around shared research interests.


These “laboratories of the future”, along with an aggressive plan to complement Wistar’s existing faculty strengths by recruiting up to 10 new faculty members with expertise in promising new areas of biomedical research, will  enable the Institute to increase the capacity of every team working on genetics, vaccines and cancer research.


“Science today requires space and infrastructure to foster work that is both multidisciplinary and collaborative,” said Wistar President and CEO Russel E. Kaufman, M.D. “The new research tower will enable us to assemble larger teams of researchers who can do more. This is a building designed for the scientific talent that will drive the next generation of Wistar breakthroughs.”


In addition to driving Wistar’s research engine, the expansion project will enhance Wistar’s public outreach. Welcomed through a new public entrance to the Institute on Spruce Street, visitors will travel through a soaring glass atrium to attend scientific symposia and public events in a new, 200-seat auditorium. These inspiring and user-friendly public spaces will host Wistar’s education programs and connect more people, school-age through senior citizens, to the language of science.


While the campaign, which will help ensure the future financial stability of the Institute, is off to a strong start, the most challenging part is still to come: raising another $16.5 million. By entering the public phase of the capital campaign, Wistar will ask for support from the community at large to help ensure the Institute achieves its mission of advancing basic biomedical research to benefit humankind.


“Wistar is like a venture capital firm that first had to generate the ideas to get into the game and create the funding,” Fox said. “Now that it’s time to grow, it is our turn as donors to invest in Wistar and its business of changing the world.”


Building Wistar, Changing the World is guided by the leadership and vision of a capital campaign steering committee. Committee members include:

Robert A. Fox, Chair, Building Wistar, Changing the World; Wistar Board of Trustees; Chairman and   C.E.O., R.A.F. Industries, Inc.

Ira Brind, Wistar Board of Trustees; President, Brind Investments, Inc.

Ronald L. Caplan, Wistar Board of Trustees; Founder & President, Philadelphia Management

Brian H. Dovey, Chair, Wistar Board of Trustees; General Partner, Domain Associates

Richard M. Horowitz, Co-Vice-Chair, Wistar Board of Trustees; President, R.A.F. Industries, Inc.

Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., President & CEO, The Wistar Institute

Susan S. McDonald, Ph.D., Wistar Board of Trustees; President & CEO, National Analysts Worldwide

Helen P. Pudlin, Co-Vice-Chair, Wistar Board of Trustees; Executive Vice President & General Counsel, PNC Bank, N.A.

Adele K. Schaeffer, Wistar Board of Trustees; Community Volunteer

Milton S. Schneider, Wistar Board of Trustees; The Glenville Group


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2011

CONTACT: Staci Vernick Goldberg, 215-898-3716,  sgoldberg@wistar.org

Editor’s note: Architectural renderings of the new Wistar Institute research tower are available here.

About The Wistar Institute

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at www.wistar.org.



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