Scripps Research Institute reportedly in merger talks with USC

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SAN DIEGO — The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla may merge with or be acquired by the University of Southern California, mostly as a way to rev up funding in the face of stiff competition for federal dollars and increasing pension and other costs, it was reported Tuesday.

The two said in a statement to U-T San Diego that they were “discussing the possibility of a relationship that would enhance the missions of both institutions.”

“TSRI and USC have a shared commitment to academic excellence that will result in meaningful breakthroughs to improve health and well-being,” according to the statement.

Two Scripps Research professors told the newspaper that news of the potential merger or acquisition broke last week.

If ultimately approved, the rare merger could benefit both institutions, according to U-T San Diego. The merger would allow the Scripps Research Institute to receive less of its $310 million annual operating budget — which includes funding for a second campus in Florida — from the National Institutes of Health, and would add to USC’s prestigious life-science institutes.

Whether the research institute could raise the money it needs without merging with USC remains to be seen. U-T San Diego reported Scripps has not received many large private donations over the years — but local philanthropists have been known to donate badly needed funds.

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