Zuckerberg appoints AstraZeneca’s Cornelia Bargmann

pharmafile | September 28, 2016 | News story | Research and Development AstraZeneca, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan 

Zuckerberg and Chan have committed $3 billion of their own money to setting up the health initiative that has an overall goal to “cure, prevent or manage all disease within our children’s lifetime”. The three main goals of CZI are to foster collaboration between teams of scientists and labs across multiple universities over long periods of time, to focus on developing tools that are geared toward eradicating diseases rather than simply treating them and to improve and expand scientific funding writ large. They have taken a further step of developing the project by appointing Cornelia Bargmann as president of science.

The huge goal of the Initiative has begun with a $600 million project to create a “Biohub”, which has a goal of increasing collaboration between Stanford University, UC San Francisco, and UC Berkeley. The hope being that by fostering strong links between the communities, new developments in all fields of science will emerge.

The overall plan follows in the footsteps of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that also tapped the pharmaceutical industry for key members of their staff. Leif Johansson, AstraZeneca’s chairman, said the board was sorry to see Bargmann leave but understood her decision to focus on the new assignment. They have moved quickly to hire her replacement, by appointing Columbia University genetics expert David Goldstein to the consultative role chief adviser for genomics. He has previous experience of serving as chair of AstraZeneca’s genomics advisory panel.

Ben Hargreaves

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