Facebook’s Zuckerberg announces $3 billion investment in disease prevention

Lewis Wallace Sep 22, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's $3 billion investment is part of a larger initiative in which they plan to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock to social causes.  Adam Berry/Getty Images

Facebook’s Zuckerberg announces $3 billion investment in disease prevention

Lewis Wallace Sep 22, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's $3 billion investment is part of a larger initiative in which they plan to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock to social causes.  Adam Berry/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, took to Facebook live on Wednesday to announce they’ll put $3 billion into an effort to “cure, prevent or manage” all diseases.

It’s all part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced when their daughter was born last year — it’s a plan to give away 99 percent of their stock in Facebook to social causes. At the time that was valued at $45 billion.But the way they’re doing that is unusual: It’s structured not as nonprofit foundation, but as a private LLC that can actually support for-profit ventures.

The first step with their $3 billion health investment is putting $600 million into a research center called the Biohub, which will work on mapping human cell types and developing tests and vaccines.

$3 billion over 10 years is certainly a heap of money for an individual couple, but when it comes to medical research, it’s not as great a sum. As an NPR report on the initiative noted, the National Institutes of Health — where much of the research on curing, preventing and managing disease in the U.S. goes on today — has a yearly budget of more than $31 billion. The vision may depend in part on some real innovation happening in the labs that they create.

 

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.