Senior faculty members joined Interim President Roger Guillemin and executives from Ipsen to sign a memorandum of understanding that set the framework for creating the Ipsen Life Sciences Program at the Salk Institute. The agreement will provide Salk with $7.5 to $12.5 million in research grants over the next three to five years. The Ipsen Life Sciences Program will sponsor three categories:
The Target grant, about $750,000 a year, will support research in pituitary problems that cause acromegaly, a defect in which too much growth hormone is produced. The condition causes disfigurement and gigantism, or excessive growth usually seen first in the hands, feet and face. About 7,000 people in the United States and 19,000 worldwide have developed acromegaly. One of the institute's goals is to make the first mouse model for acromegaly so scientists can use it to test genes suspected of causing the defect and drugs that may cure it.
The Core grant, about $1.25 million a year, will be awarded to researchers studying inflammation. Scientists believe inflammation plays a key role in aging, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic changes and many kinds of cancer.
The Innovation grant, about $500,000 a year, will give young researchers the chance to explore topics in any category deemed worthy by a selection panel.