The gift will fund a $40 million partnership in biomedical research and innovation initiatives to improve health care. (Photo/iStock)

Health

$40 million gift to expand research with CHLA will help generations of patients

The gift marks the third and final distribution of a donation from the renowned inventor, scientist and engineer Alfred E. Mann.

April 03, 2023 Leigh Hopper

USC President Carol L. Folt and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles President and Chief Executive Officer Paul S. Viviano on Monday announced a new, $40 million partnership in biomedical research and innovation initiatives to improve health care. The efforts are based on a gift to USC from the Alfred E. Mann Charities and Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering.

“Today’s announcement is testament to the power of connection — between a visionary entrepreneur’s generosity and two recognized leaders in biomedical research and innovation,” Folt said.

Viviano also expressed his appreciation to the foundation and said that the partnership will expand and enhance research opportunities across both institutions.

“We are grateful to the Alfred E. Mann Charities for their tremendous commitment to supporting innovative research and collaboration,” Viviano said. “Our team members look forward to working jointly with USC to make scientific discoveries to improve the lives of children — and the adults they will become.”

USC-CHLA research: Partners for decades

USC and CHLA have been affiliated to advance the health of children in the county and beyond for more than 90 years. CHLA is a regional and national leader in providing clinically superior, specialized and complex pediatric care, reaching 1 in 3 children annually in Los Angeles County alone. This inclusive, compassionate and family-centered clinical care is led by physicians who are faculty members of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Al Mann
Al Mann was a generous supporter of the university. (Photo/Ziva Santop/Steve Cohn Photography)

“As we celebrate this new $40 million partnership with CHLA, we also pay tribute to the late Alfred E. Mann and his visionary donation. Together, we will continue to advance biomedical research and innovation initiatives that aim to improve child health,” said Steven Shapiro, USC senior vice president for health affairs.

The latest gift represents the final distribution of an original donation to USC in 1998 from Mann. Over the course of 25 years, the late inventor and entrepreneur’s gift, intended for biomedical and biodevice research and development, grew from over $170 million to more than $230 million, presenting USC and the foundation with new opportunities to extend Mann’s legacy.

Folt envisioned the restructuring of the gift to improve health care across all phases of life. In November, she announced the naming of the USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences with a $50 million endowment from the foundation. In addition, she announced the naming of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering with a $35 million endowment to support education and scholarship.

USC Mann naming ceremony: President Carol L. Folt, Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos and Trustee Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson
USC President Carol L. Folt, USC Mann Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos and USC Trustee Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson, from left, pause in front of the building sporting the pharmacy school’s new name in February. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

At a ceremony celebrating the naming of USC Mann School in February, Folt noted Mann’s extensive record of inventions aimed at improving health outcomes.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mann founded companies and funded the creation of products that revolutionized the health care field. He also donated more than $174 million to USC toward advancements for human health, including the establishment of the USC Alfred E. Mann Institute, which has been instrumental in creating groundbreaking medical inventions such as the artificial retina. Mann, who died in 2016, was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and also served on the Board of Overseers of Keck School of Medicine.

USC-CHLA research will enhance innovation across the lifespan

Representatives of the Alfred E. Mann Charities approved redistributing the gift among several initiatives. With this latest distribution, the university and CHLA are collaborating to enhance health care research and innovation across the lifespan — an effort that Mann himself would have supported.

“Al was an outstanding inventor who devoted himself to creative solutions that would improve and extend the lives of millions of people,” said Michael Dreyer, Anoosheh Bostani and Claude Mann of the Alfred E. Mann Charities. “Al would have been so touched to see that his gift is now helping USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to help even the youngest patients to live healthier, longer lives. It is a great way to honor his legacy across generations.”

USC and CHLA will hold an event Monday evening to celebrate the new partnership, with attendees including foundation representatives, faculty, researchers and other supporters.

During the 2022 fiscal year, CHLA treated more than 700,000 patients. As an academic medical center, CHLA is where Keck School of Medicine trains the next generation of pediatricians and where doctors bring a research mindset to treating illnesses.

USC and CHLA have collaborated on innovative cell therapy programs to revolutionize the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Currently, the USC/CHLA Translational Cell Therapy Program consists of 40 principal investigators with more than $56 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health for cell and gene therapy research. Four initiatives have advanced to clinical testing or late pre-clinical development stages; six more are advancing toward clinical development.

In January, USC and CHLA opened a new laboratory to advance early-stage research into lifesaving, commercially viable therapies at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The laboratory is designed to manufacture cell and gene therapies under the Food and Drug Administration’s good manufacturing practice standards.

“The latest gift will undoubtedly strengthen the collaborative work of both institutions,” said Ishwar K. Puri, USC’s senior vice president for research and innovation.

“As recognized leaders in medical research, USC and CHLA bring unique and synergistic strengths,” said Puri. “This gift allows us to nurture new collaborations to produce therapies that improve health and quality of life from childhood through aging.”