Restaurateur Chris Sullivan donates $5 million to Moffitt Cancer Center

December 02, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. – Moffitt Cancer Center received a $5 million donation from Chris Sullivan, restaurant developer and co-founder of Outback Steakhouse and its parent company Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. The gift will help address the pressing need for more effective therapy for patients with melanoma. 

The contribution will support work at Moffitt’s Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence where researchers are sequencing the human genome and developing personalized treatments for melanoma to ultimately improve patient survival.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15 to 29. Unfortunately, it is also the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma is responsible for approximately 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths although it accounts for less than 5 percent of all skin cancer cases.

“This generous contribution, from our longtime friend Chris Sullivan, will ensure that Moffitt Cancer Center’s melanoma program continues to be a world leader in the fight against cancer with revolutionary research that leads to hope for our patients,” said Alan F. List, M.D., president and CEO of Moffitt. “Chris’ support will change the treatment and outcomes for patients facing melanoma.”

Moffitt celebrated the gift with a private reception on Nov. 19 at the center. During the event, it was announced that the atrium of Moffitt’s McKinley campus outpatient facility, currently under construction, will be named The Chris Sullivan Family Atrium.

“I’ve been blessed to be in a position where I can give back to my community. Supporting Moffitt Cancer Center and the melanoma research done at the facility is important,” Sullivan said. “The work they are doing with melanoma treatment, genetics and immune therapy is truly groundbreaking. It is exciting to be able to help move discoveries along to quickly benefit patients in Florida and around the world.”

The Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence was established at Moffitt in 2008 to advance research on the biology and treatment of melanoma. The program unites clinical and basic scientists to quickly translate laboratory discoveries into new treatments for patients. In just a few years, the center completed the deep sequencing of the entire DNA of 16 melanoma tumors, representing the first complete sequencing of the entire melanoma genome, and they have successfully grown tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, leading to multiple clinical trials involving adoptive cell transfer with impressive results for melanoma patients.  Moffitt is one of only three centers in the United States to conduct work like this.

Sullivan is a partner at MVP LRS, LLC, the company behind the Lee Roy Selmon’s restaurant chain. A Florida native, he has been a supporter of Moffitt for a number of years. In addition, he serves numerous organizations focused on catastrophic diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder and education.

Photo caption: Former U.S. Senator Connie Mack, Restaurateur Chris Sullivan, Moffitt Founder H. Lee Moffitt and Moffitt CEO Alan F. List, M.D. unveil the artist rendering of the Chris Sullivan Family Atrium.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control.  Moffitt is the No. 1 cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit, and follow the Moffitt momentum on FacebookTwitter andYouTube.