The CEO of the Eisai Company, a major Japanese pharmaceutical firm, donated more than $8 million for the construction of a new building for the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced this week.
Haruo Naito's company has had a long association with Loeb Professor of Chemistry Yoshito Kishi. Knowles said in a news release that Naito was also impressed by the quality of the department's students and research.
Dudley R. Herschbach, Baird professor of science, called the donation "magnificient."
"I, like all my colleagues, am a great admirer of Kishi. He's a fabulous scientist and a splendid colleague," Herschbach said.
According to David A. Evans, chair of the chemistry department, the gift will help attract new Faculty.
"The department has confronted a space shortage for some time that has prevented it from reaching its full complement of Faculty," he said.
Herschbach said the labs' crowding had prompted a visitor to comment: "Gee, this looks a lot like our garage."
The money will fund the construction of an addition linking the Mallinckrodt and Converse Laboratories. According to Alan K. Long, director of labs for the departments of chemistry and Earth and planetary sciences, planning will begin immediately for the new building, which will contain labs, offices, common rooms and instrument facilities.
Long said construction should finish in the year 2000.
"The intention is to put several research groups in that space, and we haven't hired the Faculty for those research groups yet, so we will tailor the space to their needs," Long said.
According to Long, the chemistry department has more graduate and post-doctoral students than most departments, but fewer Faculty.
Kishi has led an Eisai lab in Andover, Mass. since 1980. Reasearch in the lab focuses on developing compounds that may be useful as drugs.
According to a news release, Esai has developed products used to treat Alzheimer's disease, heart attacks and bacterial infection.
Naito graduated from Keio University and earned his M.B.A. at Northwestern, returning to Japan to join Eisai in 1975, the release said. He has been president and CEO of Esai since 1988.