Pelotonia Pledges $100 Million To Fight Cancer

A week before the opening ceremony of its 10th annual cycling fundraiser, Pelotonia announced a landmark pledge in its fight against cancer.

The five-year financial pledge of $102,265,000 is the largest donation in support of the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO) aThe Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The total amount of the gift is meant to pay tribute to Pelotonia’s inaugural bike ride in 2009 and the 2,265 riders who participated. In the past decade, Pelotonia has become one of the largest and fastest-growing events in fundraising. Last year’s ride raised a record $27 million as peer-to-peer fundraising events generally have experienced slowdown recently.

Pelotonia this year is likely to surpass $200 million raised since its inception, with $194 million tallied so far, including $10.3 million and counting this year. Some 7,365 riders already have registered.

“The recent explosion of discoveries in immuno-oncology have energized this effort and we know that momentum will build exponentially through an even bigger partnership with Ohio State,” Pelotonia President and CEO Doug Ullman said in a press release announcing the gift. “As we open the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology – backed by a dedicated community united in our mission, we are entering the next generation of cancer care – a time in which many cancers may become curable,” said Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor who previously led the Austin, Texas-based Livestrong Foundation.

“The OSUCCC – James is a pillar of strength at Ohio State and in our community,” OSU President Dr. Michael V. Drake. “Through the cancer center, we conduct multi-disciplinary research spanning medicine, engineering, food science, public health and other disciplines in the health sciences. This transformative Pelotonia gift will allow for an entirely new level of collaboration, research and discovery at our university – a level only possible at a comprehensive institution like Ohio State,” he said.

The PIIO will be located initially within the Biomedical Research Tower on The Ohio State University campus. The OSUCCC – James expects to add up to 32 additional faculty over the next five years to work within the PIIO. Multi-phase laboratory renovations will take place during this time to create advanced cellular laboratory facilities, immune monitoring and discovery platforms, immunogenomics, systems immunology and other research areas for start-up initiatives and national collaborations with other academic centers and industry partners.

The PIIO will be led by Dr. Zihai Li, Ph.D., an internationally renowned authority in immuno-oncology and immunotherapy. The PIIO will be formally announced during a ceremony this afternoon at the Phyllis A. Jones Legacy Park in front of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.