Arthur Riggs, PhD
City of Hope has announced the renaming of its diabetes research center as the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute, in honor of its long-time director and research pioneer. Arthur Riggs, PhD, is known for scientific achievements that include developing the technology leading to the first synthetic human insulin—a breakthrough that enabled mass production of insulin for people with diabetes. That discovery, which jumpstarted what is now a $500 billion global biotech industry, was followed by numerous firsts in the field of biomedical science. Today, synthetic insulin is used regularly by hundreds of millions of people.
Dr. Riggs, the Samuel Rahbar Chair in Diabetes & Drug Discovery, also developed recombinant DNA technology capable of producing humanized monoclonal antibodies, which are the foundation of modern treatments for diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, blindness, and a host of other diseases. These therapies include trastuzumab, rituximab, pembrolizumab, and many others that are among the world’s most widely used cancer drugs.
Decades of Philanthropy
At City of Hope, in addition to dedicating himself to scientific pursuits, Dr. Riggs has quietly contributed nearly all of the wealth from his discoveries to support leading-edge research toward the development of new treatments for the betterment of human health. Over the past 30 years, he has donated more than $310 million to City of Hope. Dr. Riggs’ generosity culminated in a gift of $100 million in January 2021, which will help to fund the continuation of research that has been his passion for more than half a century. Until now, Dr. Riggs has insisted that his gifts remain anonymous so that any attention would not detract from his work. He elected to make his philanthropy public now in the hope of encouraging other donors to join City of Hope’s fight against diabetes and cancer, especially at a time when new therapeutic discoveries are needed more than ever.
“I came to City of Hope because the environment here offers exactly that—hope for people with diabetes, cancer, and many other serious diseases,” Dr. Riggs said. “I believe in the promise of our work at City of Hope so strongly that one day, probably sooner than most think, we’ll create a world without diabetes. Yet, we will realize the full potential of this important work only through the generosity of many other donors who will choose to join us.”