The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute announced Wednesday it had received its biggest ever donation: a $3 million contribution to help build a new research facility.

The nonprofit, located on the Harbor-UCLA Medical center campus near Torrance, received the funds from board member Joan Hood Jones, a former Manhattan Beach mayor and city council member.

The donation is meant to kick off L.A. BioMed’s capital campaign and fund the construction of a new 77,800-square-foot building, which will be equipped with labs, offices, meeting and event space.

“We thank Joan for her very generous gift and for the confidence it demonstrates in L.A. BioMed,” said David I. Meyer, L.A. BioMed’s chief executive, in a statement. He noted the sizable gift would “help create a modern campus environment that is worthy of the institute’s renowned research enterprise.”

The 60-year-old research institute, which has spawned about 60 patents and eight startups, is credited with creating the modern cholesterol test, the first egg transfer (a forerunner to in-vitro fertilization) and other therapies.

“This donation recognizes L.A. BioMed’s many contributions to improving healthcare and its promising future as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit, independent research institutes,” Jones said.

She was honored Wednesday at the institute’s groundbreaking ceremony. It won’t be the last in the area, as the Harbor-UCLA campus is undergoing a master plan review with the intent to replace the existing hospital.