FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Media magnate John Malone and his wife, Leslie, are giving $42.5 million to Colorado State University to develop stem cell and other treatments for animals and people, the biggest donation in the school's history, the university announced Monday.
The gift will be used to create the CSU Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies, with $32.5 million paying for half of the construction of its building and $10 million covering operational costs. CSU will have to raise $32.5 million in matching donations to pay for construction under terms of the gift. The school has raised $10 million of that so far, said Brett Anderson, CSU's vice president of advancement.
Building on work to treat horses at CSU's veterinary hospital, the institute will work to develop treatments for animals believed to have crossover potential to helping humans, especially joint and tendon problems. But besides doing basic research and clinical trials on both animals and humans, the institute will have an entrepreneurial department focused on getting the most promising treatments to market, whether through an existing company or spinning out a new business, to help people and sustain the research, said David Frisbie, an associate professor of equine surgery at CSU's Equine Orthopaedic Research Center.
"Scientists are good at a lot of things but not always guiding the way to commercialization," Frisbie said.
In its announcement, the university said the Malones say their gift was partially inspired by the stem cell treatments their dressage horses have received at the university's veterinary hospital to repair injured joints.
"We think this whole area of research is very exciting in what it portends for humans and animals," John Malone said in the university's announcement.
Malone is the chairman of Liberty Media Corp., which owns a number of media and entertainment businesses, including Sirius XM Holdings and the Atlanta Braves. According to Forbes, he is worth $7.4 billion and is the largest private property holder in the United States. He formerly served as chairman and CEO of TCI, before it merged with AT&T.
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