Kraft Foundation Donates $20M to HBS to Commercialize Science Research

The Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation has pledged $20 million to Harvard Business School to create the Kraft Endowment for Advancing Precision Medicine, the school announced this week. The pledge, which is part of Harvard University’s $6.5 billion capital campaign, was announced at the Partners Precision Medicine Conference yesterday at Harvard Medical School, with foundation president Robert Kraft in attendance.

(LtoR): Jonathan Kraft, Richard Hamermesh, Robert Kraft, Todd Golub, Robert Huckman Photo: Justin Knight

(LtoR): Jonathan Kraft, Richard Hamermesh, Robert Kraft, Todd Golub, Robert Huckman
Photo: Justin Knight

The Kraft Endowment will be used to support research and other activities that advance the field of precision medicine. Precision medicine is a growing movement in patient care that allows scientists and physicians to use genomic and other information to understand a disease based on its biological mechanisms and to precisely diagnose and develop tailored treatments.

The growth of the industry is hampered by gaps that exist between scientific discoveries and the development and commercialization of medical solutions for public benefit. The rising cost of clinical trials and a lack of collaboration among scientists, the pharmaceutical industry and investors also hinder growth.

Harvard Business School will collaborate with the Broad Institute, a pioneer in precision medicine, and others in Boston, to find ways to accelerate breakthroughs and advance commercialization of precision medicine by harnessing the energy and ideas of the medical, science and entrepreneurial communities in the city.

Myra Kraft, the wife of Robert and mother of Jonathan (MBA 1990), Daniel, Joshua (EdM 1993), and David (MBA 1999), died of ovarian cancer in 2011. Through her illness,  the Kraft family came to understand firsthand the promise of precision medicine.

“At heart, many of the challenges facing the advancement of precision medicine today are business challenges,” says HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. “We are honored that the Krafts, who epitomize Harvard Business School’s mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, see the potential for HBS to work with world-class organizations like the Broad to develop innovative and integrative new models — from organizational structures to collaborative data centers — that will position Boston at the epicenter of this arena in the future. The endowment is a wonderful and fitting tribute to Myra Kraft, who throughout her life devoted herself to helping others.”

To learn more about this gift, and the upcoming initial research pilots designed to accelerate the discovery and trials process, please click here.

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