Norris Foundation Gives to Center for Rare Disease Therapy
CLAREMONT, Calif., Nov. 20, 2008 – Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) today announced that The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant in support of KGI’s Center for Rare Diseases Therapies.
Ian Phillips, PhD, KGI's Norris Professor of Applied Life Sciences and director of the center, said he is excited about the generous financial support. “This grant will help us meet our goals of educating KGI students in conjunction with opportunities to help those with rare diseases,” Phillips said. “The center is working with government agencies, biotech companies and patient advocate groups to increase the number of orphan drug designations, write position papers and increase awareness of the unmet needs of those with a rare disease but no treatments.”
Phillips added that as the holder of an endowed professorship established by the foundation, he is “particularly grateful” to the Norris Foundation for their continued interest in and commitment to KGI.
The Center for Rare Disease Therapies at KGI is working with government agencies, industry partners and other nonprofit organizations to develop resources that can ultimately help people with rare disorders. Currently, more than 25 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with a rare disease. Only 324 of the identified 7,000 rare diseases have FDA-approved medical treatments.
The center will use the expertise of KGI professors and scientists plus students working on Team Masters Projects to study key topics, such as market size, orphan drug applications, and increasing awareness of potential therapies. As part of its mission, the center will educate students in rare diseases to help expand opportunities for new therapies in industry, where KGI students move on to following graduation.
The Norris Foundation has been one of KGI’s longest and most generous supporters, providing a total of $2.55 million in grants to KGI.
Educating the future leaders of the bioscience industry, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) offers an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree program and its PhD program in Applied Life Sciences. Using team-based learning and real-world projects, KGI’s innovative curriculum seamlessly combines applied life sciences, bioengineering, bioethics and business management. KGI also has a robust research program concentrating on the translation of basic discoveries in the life sciences into applications that can benefit society. KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, located in Claremont, California.
Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences is dedicated to education and research aimed at translating into practice, for the benefit of society, the power and potential of the life sciences.