Harvard Medical School Receives $75M Gift From Swiss Billionaire
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- Ernesto Bertarelli, a Swiss biotech executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, pledged $75 million to Harvard Medical School.
- The money will also be used to improve buildings and advance therapeutic science and entrepreneurship.
- The Bertarelli family has also established a translational neuroscience and neuroengineering program and a cancer fund at Harvard Medical School.
Medical students at Harvard University will soon have improved space for studying and collaborating thanks to a $75 million gift from a longtime donor.
Swiss biotech executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Ernesto Bertarelli pledged $75 million to Harvard Medical School (HMS) this week.
Harvard will use the money to turn the courtyard outside of Building C, later to be named the Bertarelli Building, into a skylit atrium for a convening and collaboration space, according to HMS. The gift will also advance therapeutic science through the HMS Therapeutics Initiative and Blavatnik Harvard Life Lab Longwood, a biotech and life sciences startup lab.
"Ernesto Bertarelli is an ardent supporter of both fundamental and translational research at Harvard Medical School," HMS Dean George Q. Daley said in the press release announcing the gift. "He understands that in order to improve the health and well-being of patients, we must first support observations in the lab and then nurture and orient them toward interventions in the clinic."
Harvard anticipates beginning the atrium project this year and finishing in 2025.
"It has been my honor to have been a partner of the School for over two decades," Bertarelli said in the press release, "and I am delighted to continue to support the HMS community in its important work by helping to modernize these landmark facilities to keep pace with therapeutics innovation."
Bertarelli earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. He inherited biotech giant Serono from his father in 1998 and grew it to $2.8 billion in revenue in 2006 before selling it to Merck for $13.3 billion in 2007.
The Bertarelli family previously established a translational neuroscience and neuroengineering program at HMS in 2010. In 2019, Dona Bertarelli, Ernesto's sister, established the Bertarelli Rare Cancers Fund at HMS.
"I am honored that the Bertarelli name will become a permanent and prominent part of the medical school's quadrangle," Harvard University President Larry Bacow said in the press release. "Ernesto is a great friend of Harvard and to me personally. His ambitious vision is exceeded only by his unwavering support. Harvard is all the better for both."