The pledge will support research and other activities related to the field of precision medicine, a growing movement in patient care that enables scientists and physicians to use genomic and other information to understand a disease based on its biological mechanisms and precisely diagnose and develop tailored treatments. According to Harvard, the growth of the precision medicine industry is hampered by gaps that exist between scientific discoveries and the development and commercialization of medical solutions for the public. The rising cost of clinical trials and a lack of collaboration among scientists, the pharmaceutical industry, and investors also hinder growth. To address those challenges, HBS will collaborate with the Broad Institute and others to find ways to accelerate breakthroughs in the field. Initial projects include a precision trials challenge that engages the medical and research communities in seeking solutions to the significant costs and time required to execute clinical trials, and a crowdsourcing effort aimed at breaking data bottlenecks.
"The Kraft family has long been a standard bearer in Boston's business and philanthropic communities," said Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust. "This extraordinary gift continues that tradition in a way that will have a huge impact on generations to come, contributing to the quality of life for many people around the globe by alleviating the pain and suffering caused by a wide array of serious illnesses. Beyond that, I am very proud that this gift gives new impetus to the role of Greater Boston as an academic and commercial hub for this all-important work."