Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have a goal: To bring together scientists and engineers to cure disease, including such leading causes of death such as cancer and heart disease, within 10 years.
During an event on Wednesday for their philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the pair announced they are committing $3 billion over the next decade to "work together to cure, prevent, or manage all disease within our children's lifetime." They are funding a $600 million research center in San Francisco, in partnership with three universities, that will focus on two research projects: Cell Atlas, a map of the cells that control major organs, and the Infectious Disease Initiative, which will look for new drugs, tests, and vaccines that could fight HIV, Ebola, and Zika.
Chan said one of the hardest things she's had to do as a pediatrician is tell parents that their child has an incurable disease, and while the new initiative doesn't mean "no one will ever get sick," it does mean "our children and their children should get sick a lot less. And that we should be able to detect and treat or at least manage it as an ongoing condition." After the birth of their daughter, Max, last year, the couple announced they would give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares over their lifetime. They have already made investments in an Indian education startup called Byju and Andela, an African coding startup.