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Scripps Florida Receives Second $1M Gift from Frosts

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – For the second time in a month, Scripps Florida has received a $1 million donation from a longtime supporter of the East Coast campus of The Scripps Research Institute.

Phillip Frost — a Scripps trustee as well as a Florida physician and businessman — joined his wife Patricia Frost in donating $1 million to Scripps Florida, which in February 2009 officially opened its $187 million, 350,000-square-foot campus in Jupiter, Fla., next to Florida Atlantic University.

"The use of the funds is unrestricted," Scripps spokesman Keith McKeown told GenomeWeb Daily News this week. He added that details of how the money will be used have yet to be decided.

However, McKeown said, the institute has agreed to name the couple Scripps Florida Founders. The Frosts now share that designation with two other benefactors — Scripps Trustee Marjorie Fink, the first Scripps Florida Founder; and Elizabeth Fago, a businesswoman and philanthropist from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. whose second $1 million donation was announced by Scripps last month.

The Frosts' donation was not raised as part of a campaign, McKeown added.

In a statement, Phillip Frost said the couple's gift was "an opportunity to recognize the wonderful talent that keeps arriving at Scripps Florida. We've been tremendously impressed with a number of the new scientists there and the potential they have to make medical history."

After the Frosts donated their first $1 million to Scripps Florida in 2008, the entrance of the campus' drug discovery building, which houses its high-throughput screening center, was named the Frost Lobby.

"Over the years of our expansion into Jupiter, Phil has been an invaluable resource as a member of our Board of Trustees, and both he and Patricia have been among the strongest supporters of the work we do," Scripps President Richard Lerner said in a statement.

Phillip Frost played a key role in developing skin patch administration of medications, as well as in founding the dermatology program at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. This followed five years as a faculty member at the University of Miami and prior dermatology training at UM's Jackson Hospital.

He rescued Key Pharmaceuticals from near-bankruptcy to acquisition by Schering Plough, and later founded Miami-based generic drug producer Ivax, where he served as chairman and CEO. Ivax was merged with Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in 2006.

Phillip Frost is now chairman and CEO of OPKO Health, which develops pharmaceuticals and instruments for diagnosing and treating eye and other medical disorders; and chairman of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, where he was instrumental in moving the firm to Miami.

Patricia Frost is the retired principal of Henry West Laboratory Elementary School, an experimental school of choice associated with the University of Miami School of Education, and the Miami-Dade County School System. She is a member of Florida International University's Board of Trustees.

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