USC/UCLA: To Receive $100 Million Gift From Entrepreneur
Biomedical entrepreneur Alfred Mann has finalized plans to "donate $100 million to USC to establish an institute to turn raw scientific discoveries into useful products -- and is poised to give another $100 million for a similar institute at UCLA," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Most of the Nobel prizes go to scientists in this country, yet all of the products are coming out of Japan and Germany. I want to create a bridge between academia and the industry," Mann said. According to academic and industry experts, the "institute probably will foster even more biomedical activity in Los Angeles and Southern California, which has already become a leading region for start-up companies in the field." Mann, who has a degree in physics and made "hundreds of millions of dollars by producing pacemakers for heart patients and insulin pumps to help treat diabetics," entered the biomedical field in recent decades. His own nonprofit think tank, the Alfred E. Mann Foundation, is currently developing a "'prosthetic pancreas' that he says 'will allow diabetics to lead normal lives,' free from insulin shots."
Share In Profits
The USC institute is "expected to employ 100 or more engineers, PhD scientists and technicians." The university will "receive 30% of royalties from any product that makes it to market -- after initial costs to secure the patent and a cut for the inventor. The institute will keep 45% of these royalties to further its work and 25% will revert to the Alfred E. Mann Foundation -- the entity underwriting the institute," the Times reports. However, Mann's companies will "have 'no right of first refusal or most-favored nation status' to manufacture inventions springing from the institute at USC."
UCLA officials said they hope to make a similar agreement with Mann in the near future. Mann had originally approached UCLA about the donation, but he said "the notion quickly got bogged down in 'university politics.'" When USC heard that Mann was looking to give the money away, it aggressively "promoted USC as a perfect match for such an institute" (Weiss/Dickerson/Hill-Holtzman, 2/5).