Zuckerberg, Chan pledge $3 billion to fight disease
SAN FRANCISCO Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife, Priscilla Chan, are launching an ambitious effort to spend $3 billion over the next decade to cure disease.
The goal is to “work together to cure, prevent or manage all disease within our children’s lifetime,” Chan said during an event for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple’s philanthropic group.
Chan spoke through tears as she recalled telling parents their child had an incurable disease or could not be revived, experiences she said made her even more determined to work with scientists and engineers to build tools that can save lives by the end of the century.
Zuckerberg said he and Chan want to “make a better future for our children.”
As part of the investment, the couple is funding a $600 million research center in San Francisco called the Biohub, a partnership with UC-San Francisco, Stanford University and UC-Berkeley. Neurobiologist Cori Bargmann is signing on as president of science.
Last December, the couple celebrated the birth of a baby girl with the announcement they plan to give away most of their fortune through a new initiative to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.” The Facebook founder and his wife pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook shares in their lifetime. So far, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has made investments in an African coding start-up called Andela and Indian education start-up Byju.
This is a long-term effort, Zuckerberg cautioned.
“We plan to invest billions of dollars over decades,” he said. “But it will take years for these tools to be developed and longer to put them into full use. This is hard, and we need to be patient, but it’s important.”
Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, spoke Wednesday.