The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization started by pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has promised over $3 billion over the next decade to fund an initiative that aims to eradicate all diseases by the end of the century. Chan took the stage on Wednesday at the project’s launch event in San Francisco to announce that they will “be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease.”
“Mark and I believe that this is possible within our children’s lifetime,” said Chan. “We are partnering with scientists, doctors, and engineers to help us achieve this goal … We’ll be investing more than $3 billion to achieve our collective vision.”
Called Chan Zuckerberg Science (CZS), the aim of the program is to "cure, prevent or manage all disease” in four areas: heart disease, infectious disease, neurological disease and cancer. According to Zuckerberg, the U.S. spends 50 times the resources on treating those who are ill than preventing people from falling sick. “We can do better than that,” said Zuckerberg on stage.
There are three parts to the program—bringing together scientists and engineers, building new tools and technology for the scientific community, and kickstarting a movement to fund science.
Roughly $600 million of the investment will go towards creating Biohub: a new independent research center located in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. Led by UCSF’s Joe DeRisi and Stanford University’s Stephen Quake, everything from Biohub will be available for doctors and researchers around the globe. The CZS will also create virtual “challenge networks” that will allow experts around the world to meet on one platform.
"It's very hard with today's science funding to build a team to work on scientific problems that are like what you would find at a world-class technology company, that are that scale," Zuckerberg said. "So that's something I think we can concretely help out with."
As for new tools and technologies, Zuckerberg listed some technologies including artificial intelligence software, machine learning to “analyze large databases of cancer genomes,” chips to diagnose infectious diseases, and a map of all the different types of cells in the human body.