Cable legend and Liberty Media chairman John Malone and his wife Leslie have pledged a record $42.5 million to Colorado State University to fund research into developing regenerative and medical therapies for animals and people.
The gift is the largest cash donation in university history.
The money will launch the CSU Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies to investigate next-generation remedies based on living cells and their products, including patient-derived stem cells, to treat musculoskeletal disease and other ailments. Colorado State veterinarians are experts at analyzing medical treatments for animal patients, then providing knowledge gained to boost human medical advancements; the progression is known as translational medicine and is successful because of similarities in animal and human physiology and disease.
“We are tremendously grateful to John and Leslie Malone for their generous philanthropy, foresight and dedication to scientific discovery,” Colorado State President Tony Frank said in a statement. “In addition to being the largest cash gift in the university’s history, their commitment positions us to build on our foundation as a leader in translational medicine, where advances in veterinary medicine very rapidly move into the sphere of benefitting human health.”
The donation was in part inspired by stem-cell treatments the Malone’s world-class dressage horses have received to help repair stressed and injured joints. Malone, the largest individual private landowner in the country, owns a large horse farm near Denver.
“You put so much training into them, it would be wonderful to have them enjoy their health for a longer period,” Leslie Malone said in a statement. She added that one promising dressage horse named Blixt, a gelding that had suffered lameness, underwent successful arthroscopic surgery at the Colorado State Orthopaedic Research Center, received stem-cell injections, and now is back to training.
“We think this whole area of research is very exciting in what it portends for humans and animals,” John Malone said in a statement. “When you say, ‘Who’s in the best position to do something about this?’ – to take cutting-edge research and apply it pragmatically to the problems we see that people and horses are encountering on a day-to-day basis – it became pretty logical. CSU was the right place to go.”
The Malones’ gift will provide $10 million for operations and $32.5 million for construction of an institute building, which will feature laboratories, specialized surgical suites, and conference space for veterinarians and physicians. The lead gift requires $32.5 million in matching donations for building construction.
“We are truly appreciative and humbled by John and Leslie Malone’s contribution to Colorado State University. This is a transformational gift that will make a difference in our society today and in the future,” Brett Anderson, vice president for advancement, said in a statement.
This is not the first gift the Malones have given the University. In 2013, they donated $6 million to endow the Leslie A. Malone Presidential Chair in Equine Sports Medicine, a way to foster prevention, diagnosis and treatment of injuries in performance horses. The Malones are regular givers to various educational and philanthropic causes and their charitable donations have topped $300 million over the years.
People interested in donating to the project may visit https://advancing.colostate.edu/IBTTBUILDING.