In 2007 the Trustees of the Novartis (formerly Ciba) Foundation approached the Academy with a proposal to merge with their charity and so acquire the lease of their properties, consisting of 41 Portland Place and an attached mews house. This represents a most generous gift of some £4.2million to the Academy, received in July 2008.
In 1947, 41 PP was acquired by the Ciba Foundation (established by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Ciba, now Novartis) to promote international cooperation in medical and chemical research.
In the midst of a politically oppressive post-war atmosphere the Ciba Foundation's work was exceptional: rich diversity and quality of scientific exchange fostered through meetings, publications, and hospitality.
The Novartis Foundation enabled a generation of world-class scientists to meet and discuss cutting edge developments across a wide spectrum.
Meetings at 41 PP enabled standardisation of the international nomenclature on bodily steroids, facilitated the first discussions on stem cells and introduced the world to the importance of the human thymus.
83 Nobel laureates attended symposia at 41 Portland Place, several of whom cited the meetings as crucial in stimulating subsequent research breakthroughs.
Together with the building, the Academy has also inherited the Novartis records, fascinating “scrapbooks” which painstakingly record sixty years of important medical discussions and breakthroughs. These can be found on display in the Fellows Room at 41 Portland Place.