For most people, becoming the fifth richest person in the world and the head of a social network with almost 2 billion monthly active users would be enough of an achievement. But not if you’re Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook boss and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have announced a $3 billion project that aims to cure and manage all human diseases “in our children’s lifetime.”
The couple will invest the large sum into bio-medical research across the next decade through the philanthropic organization the pair founded last December, called The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
"Mark and I believe that this is possible within our children’s lifetime. 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," Priscilla Chan said at the project’s launch in San Francisco.
Zuckerberg said the initiative’s plan is to bring scientists and engineers together, build the tools and technology needed, and to grow the movement to fund science.
The first part of the investment will see $600 million go into “Biohub,” an independent research facility located in San Francisco’s Mission Bay and built in collaboration with the University of California, Stanford, and Berkeley.
“Medicine has only been a modern science for about a century, and we’ve made incredible progress so far. Life expectancy has increased by 1/4 of a year per year since then, and if we only continue this trend, the average will reach 100 around the end of this century,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
That $3 billion will come from the pair’s $45 billion worth of Facebook shares. Back in December, the couple said they would donate 99 percent of the shares over their lifetime through the CZI.
At the end of the San Francisco presentation, fellow tech philanthropist Bill Gates took to the stage, calling the initiative “very bold.”
“I think all of us will be proud to say that we were here when Mark and Priscilla started this journey,” the former Microsoft boss added.