In 2007, Ted Stanley was contacted by Ed Scolnick, a researcher at the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute, looking for funding for a small project regarding psychiatric research. Stanley wanted to do something far bigger. Having dealt with psychiatric disorders in his personal life after his son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he knew he wanted to help as many patients as possible. Stanley’s son, Jonathan, had responded well to his treatment and went on to become a successful lawyer. Stanley wanted others to have the same kind of success that his son had. However, because not everyone responds the same way to treatment, he knew a major effort would be required in support of his goal. He made a $100 million donation to create the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute.
After the creation of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Stanley would donate another $50 million to the organization and pledge $800 million to be donated after his death, telling the New York Times, “After I’m gone I just want the money to flow to them as it would if I was still alive.”
Although Stanley’s gift to psychiatric research helps advance scientific discovery, there is more investment to be made before we see significant impact in this industry. The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research is committed to contributing to new understandings of pathogenesis, the identification of biomarkers, and above all, new treatments of psychiatric disease. The successful discovery of genetic variants associated with bipolar disorder is only the beginning; the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research focuses extensively on new methodologies and tool development to further our understanding of biological mechanisms. Working with research groups around the world, these efforts are focused on taking scientific approaches that will significantly advance our research objectives and knowledge for the psychiatric research community.
Ted Stanley’s pledge came at a time when basic research into mental illness was sputtering, and many drug makers had all but abandoned the search for new treatments. But researchers at the Broad say it has allowed them to work on big projects that they couldn’t even think of getting grants for previously.
Pharmaceutical companies have mostly fled psychiatry after a string of expensive failures. For instance a drug from Scolnick’s days at Merck that looked like a promising antidepressant instead turned out to be useful only for chemotherapy induced nausea, and Eli Lilly, for years the top maker of psychiatry drugs, has seen its attempts to create a new schizophrenia drug founder.
“He will end up being the single most important figure in bringing psychiatric disease into the modern molecular and genetic age,” said Dr. Eric S. Lander, the founding director and president of the institute.
Click video to see how Ted Stanley and the Stanley family transformed the field of psychiatric research and the Broad Institute.
The Stanley Family Foundation is the majority shareholder of our company. This charitable organization funds research that would reduce the burden of serious mental illness. Top scientists in the field of genetics and neurobiology rely on the funding from The Stanley Family Foundation to finance their research. For further inquiry, contact us at SFF@mbi-inc.com.