The Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre (WWCRC) will shorten the time it takes to turn research in the lab into treatments for patients.
Medics said it would be the "missing link" between the existing Beatson Institute and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Care Centre.
The centre, at Glasgow University's Garscube Estate, was officially opened by Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK.
Dr Kumar said: "While we have made huge strides in our fight against cancer, the battle still rages and we need to keep investing in new research centres like.
"Glasgow is a major centre for cancer research in the UK.
"Research like the kind that will take place in the Wolfson Wohl is essential to turning the knowledge gleaned in the lab into treatments that will actually help patients beat cancer. We're delighted to see it up and running."
Built with the help of £10 million in public donations raised through the Evening Times backed Beatson Pebble Appeal, the opening of the WWCRC comes 40 years after the foundation of the Oncology Department at Glasgow University in 1974.
The new centre is named The Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre in recognition of donations from The Wolfson Foundation and the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation.
Professor Andrew Biankin, Director of the Wolfson Wohl, said: "The centre is the only translational research facility dedicated to cancer in Scotland. It will greatly increase the scale of activity.
"Glasgow is in a strong position to make a significant and long-term impact on speeding up the process of drug discovery, prevention and treatment, targeting the common cancers."