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Shaw Prize Funds Donated to ALS Association

PHILANTHROPY: Bequest Honors the Memory of Peter Grootenhuis

The ALS Association of Greater San Diego announced on Dec. 22 the donation of $200,000 from Paul Negulescu, Ph.D., one of two recipients of the 2022 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Peter Grootenhuis, Ph.D.
Former Head of Chemistry and Project Leader
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Negulescu, senior vice president of research at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., was recognized for landmark discoveries of the molecular, biochemical and functional defects underlying cystic fibrosis (CF) and the identification and development of medicines that reverse those defects. He and the Vertex team discovered small molecules to treat CF by embarking on an enormously risky strategy of screening for compounds that could “fix” a defective protein. Currently, 50% of all CF patients take Vertex CF medicines.

Together with his longtime Vertex colleagues who contributed to the CF research, Negulescu chose to donate the Shaw Prize money to the ALS Association, in honor of their friend and colleague, Peter Grootenhuis, Ph.D. who passed of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2019.

“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 made remarkable contributions as a leader, scientist, mentor and friend.  It seemed appropriate to donate the prize money to a worthy organization that helped him manage his illness and continues to help others living with ALS,” said Negulescu.

“We are dedicated to the three pillars of our mission: research, advocacy and care services,” said Steve Becvar, former executive director and current vice president of sports & entertainment for the ALS Association.  He continued, “Care service is at the heart of what we do. As an organization, it has always been our mission to empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.  Dr. Negulescu’s generous donation will have a direct impact on how we provide care to those living with ALS.  We are deeply honored and tremendously grateful for the extreme generosity of Dr. Negulescu in choosing to share his prize money to support our ALS community in this way.”

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal cord.

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