The University of Pennsylvania this afternoon announced a $50 million gift from philanthropists Jerome and Anne Fisher to support a new eight-story biomedical-research center.

It's the second largest gift ever to Penn's health system and will help in the growing field of translational medicine, which accelerates the conversion of laboratory discoveries into medical therapies for patients.

The Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center is scheduled to open in 2010 and will be next to Penn's two new outpatient-care facilities that will open this year and in 2009 on the West Philadelphia campus.

Jerome Fisher is founder and chairman emeritus of the Nine West Group Inc. and a 1953 graduate of Penn's Wharton School. He also has grandchildren who are Penn alumni. Both Fisher and his wife have been active at Penn for years.

"All of us at the University of Pennsylvania are enormously grateful to Anne and Jerome for this incredibly generous and transformational gift which will further position Penn at the forefront of bench-to-bedside medicine," Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a prepared statement.