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2018 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize

Greater San Diego Chapter of the ALS Association is Recipient of $125,000 Major Donation from Winner of 2018 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize

San Diego, January 8, 2019 -- The ALS Association, Greater San Diego Chapter today announced the generous donation of $125,000 from Paul Negulescu, PhD, one of the winners of the 2018 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (Alpert Prize). Each year The Warren Alpert Foundation, in association with Harvard Medical School, honors scientists whose work has improved the understanding, prevention, treatment or cure of human disease. This year five scientists received the award, including Dr. Negulescu, for “transformative discoveries in the fields of genetics, physiology, pulmonology and pharmacology that led to the development oflife-altering precision-targeted treatments for the devastating multi-organ disease cystic fibrosis (CF).”

The donation represents the entirety of the prize money received by Dr. Negulescu, Senior Vice President at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Negulescu, together with his longtime Vertex colleagues who contributed to the CF research, chose to donate the prize money to the San Diego Chapter of the ALS Association, in honor of their friend and colleague, Peter Grootenhuis PhD, who is living with ALS. “Our work in CF has been a team effort that began with support from patients and their families. Peter led the CF project for many years, and continues to make remarkable contributions as a leader, scientist, mentor and friend. It seemed appropriate to donate the prize money to a worthy organization that is helping him and others”, said Dr. Negulescu.

“At the ALS Association, we are dedicated to the three pillars of the mission: research, advocacy, and care services,” stated Steve Becvar, Executive Director of the Greater San Diego Chapter. He continued, “Our local San Diego chapter has been growing its outreach and operations recently, now delivering services and equipment to approximately 50% more people living with ALS than we did just two years ago. This wonderful donation by Dr. Negulescu will help us to sustain this greater capacity for the foreseeable future. We are deeply honored and tremendously grateful for the extreme generosity of Dr. Negulescu in choosing to redirect his prize money to support our ALS patient community in this way.”

2018 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize

Pictured: Steve Becvar, Paul Negulescu, Keith Miller, Peter Grootenhuis, Sabine Hadida, Fred Van Goor

The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose theability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis and deathwithin five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for thedisease.

About the Warren Alpert Foundation

Each year the Warren Alpert Foundation receives between 30 and 50 nominations from scientific leaders worldwide. Prize recipients are selected by the foundation’s scientific advisory board, which is composed of distinguished biomedical scientists and chaired by the dean of Harvard Medical School.  Warren Alpert (1920-2007), a native of Chelsea, Mass., established the prize in 1987 after reading about the development of a vaccine for hepatitis B. The inaugural recipient of the award was Kenneth Murray of the University of Edinburgh, who designed the hepatitis B vaccine.  To award subsequent prizes, Alpert asked Daniel Tosteson (1925-2009), then dean of Harvard Medical School, to convene a panel of experts to identify scientists from around the world whose research had a direct impact on the treatment of disease. 

About Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition toclinical development programs in CF, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs focused on the underlying mechanisms of other serious diseases. Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex's headquarters is now located in Boston's Innovation District. Today,the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry's top places to work, including being named to Science magazine's Top Employers in the life sciences ranking for nine years in a row.

About The ALS Association

The ALS Association is the only national nonprofit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit the website at

Date: Friday, January 11, 2019
Time: 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This event does not require an RSVP.