Margaret L. Wendt Foundation Awards Grants Totaling $4.5 Million to Fund Buffalo Life Sciences Complex

By Arthur Page

Release Date: December 16, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation today announced grants totaling $4.5 million to the University at Buffalo, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) and Roswell Park Cancer Institute -- the three partners in the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex.

This is the first leadership gift that has been made to the institutions as a partnership; each will receive a $1.5 million grant. The grant was announced by the foundation at a press conference held today.

Support from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation will reinforce connectivity among the three buildings to be constructed by the institutions that will constitute the complex.

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation's pace-setting gift helps buoy current fund-raising efforts for the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex. Together, UB, Roswell Park and HWI are actively engaged in seeking additional funds to fulfill critical fund-raising priorities including the facilities, faculty recruitment and research support as a complement to current private and publicly generated contributions.

Construction of the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex will begin on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) in the summer of 2003. The complex, to be built at Ellicott and Virginia streets, will house life-sciences research designed to improve human health by developing new therapies to treat and cure disease.

In broad terms, researchers at the three institutions will focus on projects related to bioinformatics, drug discovery, cancer, metabolic diseases, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases. Since the nature of scientific technology in the 21st-century crosses disease boundaries, the programs will be integrated throughout the complex, which has been co-designed with input from scientists at the three institutions.

The Life Sciences Complex will consist of three new buildings adding more than 400,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research space to the BNMC. The complex will house the University at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, Hauptman-Woodward Center for Structural Biology and the Roswell Park Center for Genetics and Pharmacology.

Thomas R. Beecher, Jr., chair of the BNMC Board of Directors, noted that "connectivity and collaboration are critical to the success of the complex and the medical campus."

Beecher praised the foundation, noting, "This generous and visionary private sector support is key in our efforts to secure continued public and private investment in the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex. On behalf of UB, Roswell Park and HWI, I want to express our sincere appreciation for The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation's leadership in supporting life sciences research at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."

UB President William R. Greiner thanked foundation "for its generosity, vision, and the commitment to the future of our region that this outstanding grant represents."

Greiner said that "as the research epicenter of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex will define Buffalo as a world-class locus for biomedical science, drug discovery, and the development of revolutionary new therapies and methods of health care.

"The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation's generous and continuing support for our collaboration has helped to lay the foundation not only for the future of advanced scientific research, but for the economic health and advancement of our region and state. We at UB are proud to partner with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in this exciting initiative, and we look forward to many groundbreaking discoveries to come."

David C. Hohn, M.D., Roswell Park president and CEO, said the grants "represent another example of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation's extraordinary commitment to Western New York."

Hohn added, "By supporting this dynamic project, The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation clearly shares our vision of what this region can become in the future, and the crucial role that scientists at Hauptman-Woodward, the University at Buffalo, and Roswell Park will have in helping to develop new therapies and treatments for patients nationally and internationally for decades to come."

George T. DeTitta, Ph.D., executive director and CEO of Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, noted that "the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation has always been a strong supporter of HWI and our research. Once again, they are demonstrating their commitment to the community by giving a gift that will help science prosper in Western New York.

"We are proud to partner with Roswell Park and UB to continue our commitment to science, and to make the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a world-renowned center for research and scientific discovery," DeTitta added. "Our many thanks to The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation for leading the way."

UB, Roswell Park and HWI are working to expand their current research and development activities while fostering partnerships with the local, national and international business communities to enhance and promote Buffalo Niagara's economic, social and cultural development.

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation is a private, philanthropic organization that focuses its work in Western New York and is devoted to the development of a stronger Western New York Community.

UB, Roswell Park, Kaleida Health, HWI and the Buffalo Medical Group Foundation founded the BNMC in April 2001. Its mission is to cultivate a world-class urban medical center by facilitating cooperation among its founding institutions. The BNMC currently is implementing a collaborative master plan developed in partnership with Chan Krieger and Associates from Cambridge, Mass.