USA – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has received an enormous philanthropic gift of US$710.5 million from Jackie and Mike Bezos, the parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who pledged on behalf of the Bezos family.

The gift will help the organization’s efforts to dramatically accelerate the pace and breadth of medical breakthroughs in cancer and infectious disease by leveraging today’s science.

Organizational leaders anticipate that these efforts will necessitate US$3 billion in philanthropic support over the next decade, and they anticipate that this gift will inspire additional donor support.

The pledged gift is the largest in the Seattle research institution’s 47-year history, surpassing Stuart and Molly Sloan’s US$78 million commitment in September.

Both gifts follow the recent merger of Fred Hutch, a leading scientific research facility, and clinical care partner Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The cancer program at UW Medicine is now run by Fred Hutch, an independent organization.

The new gift adds to the Bezos family’s previous contributions to Fred Hutch, which were mostly focused on cellular immunotherapy.

The gift will help fund projects ranging from basic science to clinical research at Fred Hutch. Over the next ten years, the funding will be allocated to several key priorities:

  • US$300 million for the recruitment of 36 new laboratory leaders. Lynch estimates that each leader will bring in a dozen or more additional researchers to work in their labs. The funding covers lab space, equipment, and technology to facilitate collaboration.
  • US$225 million will be spent on research facilities. This funding will help build the new 390,000-square-foot Stuart and Molly Sloan Precision Oncology Institute, which was announced last month.
  • US$149.5 million will be spent on clinical research infrastructure. The initiatives will be modeled after the current Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic.
  • US$36 million to expand research at the Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutch.

A recent agreement to align cancer care at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine, the healthcare system affiliated with the University of Washington, and to coordinate research more closely between them encouraged Mike and Jackie Bezos.

They were also inspired by Seattle’s response to COVID-19, which was fueled in part by Fred Hutch’s leadership in vaccine testing, epidemiology, and other areas, according to Lynch.

Science, particularly cancer and virus research, is at such a pivotal point right now,” said Mike Bezos in a statement.

We hope our investment in the Hutch leads to answers for the most pressing medical questions. We also hope this inspires others to join us now in pursuing scientific and medical breakthroughs.”

Previous gifts from the family aided research that led to Seattle’s burgeoning cellular therapy industry, which has its roots in Juno Therapeutics, a company founded in 2013 by Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s, and Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Lynch believes that the new gift will benefit Seattle’s entire life sciences ecosystem.

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