The Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute will assemble scientists, researchers and physicians to work on treatments for childhood diseases based on each patient's genetic profile. The bulk of the clinical personnel will come from the UCSD Health System.
“This is the beginning,” Rady said in a statement, asking others to establish grants and endowments toward the goal. The donation announcement was made by hospital board chairman David Hale at a news conference, wit Rady attending.
In a related development, Rady's board of trustees pledged $40 million to help fund the center.
“The commitment Ernest Rady and the board has made is truly transformative,” said Dr. Donald Kearns, president of the hospital, in a statement. “This Institute and gift will secure Rady Children’s' place at the leading edge of research, discovery and innovation into childhood disease and injury.” Kearns added that the hopes the facility sets “national and international standards for pediatric care.”
The institute will be housed in two facilities, one on Frost Street adjacent to the 449-bed hospital and the other in the Torrey Pines area among other research institutes.
The genome, or the genetic material of an organism, determines the characteristics of a parented offspring. Certain alterations in the genomic sequence result is superficial attributes such as eye color and hair density; others are linked to predictors of disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy and sickle-cell disease. Without adequate treatment, many people with the bleeding disorder hemophilia die before they reach adulthood. The average IQ of a child with the chromosomal disorder Down syndrome is 50.
Rady, one of San Diego's most widely known philanthropists, is a self-made billionaire, a financial services director and a developer of commercial and residential real estate. His company American Assets, which he founded in 1967, gave $60 million in a $220 million campaign for new construction and patient programs at Rady Children's, which ended in 2011. He also donated $30 million to programs at UCSD in 2003.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native, 77, holds a law degree from the University of Manitoba. He and his wife Evelyne have three children.
Rady's donation matches the non-bequest record $120 million that Irwin and Joan Jacobs gave the San Diego Symphony in February of 2002 – and at Monday's announcement, Rady quipped that he'd “had a hell of a lot more fun making it than I am giving it away.”
Gabriel Haddad, Rady hospital physician in chief, pointed out that he hopes $120 million is only the start of donations and bequests.
"I think we want to build something that will be self-sustaining, ultimately,” Haddad said, “but at the beginning we need a boost like the one that we have today.”
– Staff and contribution