Volume 86 Issue 36 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: September 8, 2008

Broad Institute Lands Big Gift

Philanthropists commit an additional $400 million to endow biomedical research institute
Department: Education
Eli and Edythe Broad at a press conference at the Broad Institute.
Credit: Len Rubenstein
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Eli and Edythe Broad at a press conference at the Broad Institute.
Credit: Len Rubenstein

PRONOUNCING THEIR initial investment in the Broad Institute a success, philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad announced on Sept. 4 that they have increased their gift to the Massachusetts biomedical research institute by $400 million to a total of $600 million.

"Our investment in the Broad is the largest philanthropic commitment we've ever made, and without a doubt it has been the biggest success," Eli Broad said at a press conference at the institute. He cited, among other things, the 20 mammalian genomes the four-year-old institute has sequenced, the scores of genetic risk factors it has identified for diseases, and the potential new therapeutics it has unearthed.

Launched in 2004 as a joint endeavor between Harvard University and MIT, the Broad Institute aims to bring together all kinds of scientists from across the two university communities to tackle big interdisciplinary problems related to various diseases, including cancer, metabolic diseases, and psychiatric conditions.

Intrigued by what might come of organizing research this way, the Broads pledged to invest $100 million over a 10-year period in the experiment. Pleased with its progress, they promised to double their 10-year commitment in late 2005. Now, their additional $400 million gift will convert the institute into a permanent nonprofit research organization.

"The Broad gift is enabling us to create the capabilities and community we need to achieve our scientific aspirations in chemical biology and, ultimately, human biology and medicine," said Stuart L. Schreiber, a founding member of the institute and director of its chemical biology program. The announcement comes on the heels of word that the Broad had won a nearly $90 million grant over several years from the National Institutes of Health to screen small molecules by high-throughput methods to identify compounds with interesting biological functions, he notes (see page 28). This project and others at the Broad Institute rely "on the infrastructure and community established by the Broad gift," he adds.

After Eli founded two Fortune 500 companies, the Broads devoted themselves to philanthropy, funding not only scientific and medical research but also the arts and urban K–12 education reform.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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