The Pears Foundation donates £5million for world class research centre at Royal Free Hospital
- Credit: David_C_Bishop
A family-run foundation in Hampstead has made its largest ever donation of £5million to help the Royal Free Hospital build a world class centre to research cures for cancer and HIV.
The multi-million pound pledge from the Pears Foundation has allowed the Royal Free to forge ahead with its ambitious plans for a building to house the new UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation on land next to the hospital site in Pond Street, Hampstead.
The new centre will be named The Pears Building and will provide a base for academics carrying out research on the prevention and treatment of major diseases such as cancer, HIV and hepatitis, as well as exploring the use of stem cells to grow new organs for transplantation.
The facility will place researchers in close proximity to patients who could take part in clinical trials and will be the first of its kind outside the United States.
Trevor Pears, executive chair of the family foundation he and his brothers Mark and David set up in 1992, said: “Over the last three or four years we’ve built up a relationship with the Royal Free and got to know people there and this conversation started about a research centre. We were very happy to get involved.
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“Certainly we are satisfied that the work will be world class, world leading and will be excellent medical research.
“But our thought process was much more about supporting and being part of our local NHS hospital and what goes on there.
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“My brothers and I are proud to support our local NHS hospital.”
The agreement between the Royal Free Charity and the foundation, whose Old Brewery Mews headquarters overlook the hospital site, was signed on Tuesday and it has allowed the Royal Free to move forward with its vision for the pioneering new centre.
A planning application will be submitted to Camden Council at the end of this month, with work expected to start next year and be completed in 2017.
It will be the biggest construction project undertaken at the Royal Free since it moved to its current Hampstead home in 1972.
Chris Burghes, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “We are hugely grateful to the Pears family for this generous donation.
“We have been able to take a major step towards achieving our vision to create the hospital of the future, enabling pioneering medical research that transforms the patient experience.
“The Pears Building will be on the doorstep of the Royal Free Hospital, bringing award-winning scientists closer to patients, allowing them greater access to clinical trials and the latest medicine.”
UCL and the Royal Free Charity need to raise £42million for the building and a further £25million to support five research teams based at the new centre.
The Royal Free Charity has to raise another £6.8million to reach its £42million total.
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