Published: Fri, September 23, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Zuckerberg, Chan Pledge $3B to Fight Disease

The couple announced on Wednesday that are pledging US$3 billion (A$4 billion) to help cure, prevent and manage all diseases within the lifetime of their children. "If there's even a chance that we can help cure all diseases in our children's lifetime. then we are going to do our part", Zuckerberg told the gathering which included Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner.

In December a year ago, Zuckerberg said he will give 99 per cent of his Facebook shares away in his lifetime.

Now overseeing the world's biggest social network, which he co-founded in 2004 when he was a college student, and working determinedly to bring internet connectivity to remote and underdeveloped parts of the planet, he also has his mind set on curing all diseases within the next 100 years or so.

Pricilla Chan (R) and her husband Mark Zuckerberg announce the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to "cure, prevent or manage all disease" by the end of the century during a news conference at UCSF Mission Bay in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 21, 2016.

Zuckerberg, 32, said the initiative was to "make a better future for our children". This is about the future we all want for our children.

The $3 billion will come from the $45 billion organization Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan started a year ago to advance human potential and equality.

The $3 billion fund, Zuckerberg explained, will be used to bring together scientists and engineers to help build new tools and technologies to take on the grand challenge.

The major diseases they are hoping to tackle are cancer, neurological disease like stroke, heart disease, and infectious disease.

Zuckerberg said at present, 50 times more money was spent on treating people who are sick than on curing the diseases that would stop them getting ill in the first place, and added that this needed to change. But it will take years for these tools to be developed and longer to put them into full use. "The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is already doing some very promising work in improving the education of all students".

To begin with, it will invest $600 million in a project called Biohub, which is an independent research center located at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF).

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