TIME health

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s Initiative to Invest $3 Billion to Cure Diseases

"Our children and their children should get sick a lot less"

Correction appended, Sept. 22

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic initiative will invest $3 billion over the next decade in an effort to cure and manage all diseases.

Speaking at the University of California, San Francisco, Chan announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s latest venture, which will start with a $600 million investment in a project called Biohub that will connect UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford University to develop tools to measure and treat diseases.

“We believe that the future we want for our children is possible. We set a goal: Can we cure all diseases in our children’s lifetime?” Chan said during the talk. “That doesn’t mean that no one will ever get sick. But it does mean that our children and their children should get sick a lot less. And that we should be able to detect and treat or at least manage it as an ongoing condition. Mark and I believe this is possible within our children’s lifetime.”

Zuckerberg, who spoke after Chan, said investing in basic scientific research and building tools to push progress will help fight conditions like heart disease, infectious disease, cancer and neurological disease faster. These tools include artificial intelligence to better understand the human brain, chips that can diagnose infectious diseases and a machine to analyze cancer genomes.

“It’s going to take years before the first tools are built, and years after that before the first diseases are treated,” Zuckerberg said. “We have to be patient.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in December, with an intention to “advance human potential and promote equality for all,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time in a letter addressed to his newborn daughter. The Facebook CEO and his wife pledged 99% of their Facebook shares, valued $45 billion at the time, to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The shares were transferred to the initiative and will sell up to $1 billion per year over the next three years.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the amount of money Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan would donate to the initiative. They pledged 99% of their Facebook shares, valued at $45 billion at the time.

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