A: The institute is an organization like no other. There are actually three reasons for that:
1. Our approach to funding
We are an endowment-based organization that is chiefly funded through an endowment. The reason that is important for us is because we are able to pursue questions whose answers have a long-term payout. It also allows us to have our scientists focus on doing research, as opposed to grant funding.
2. The way we organize technologies
About a third of our scientific budget is invested in technologies, access to the world’s most advanced equipment. We also have centers of excellence staffed by or 100 scientists who are expert in using that technology and applying that technology to today’s most important biological questions.
3. Our way of translating basic discovery into applications that have a direct impact on human health
This organization is called BioMed Valley Discoveries. It’s distinctive because it actually has a philanthropic mission combined with industrial-scale resources. This is something that doesn’t exist in academia or industry, and allows us to go after problems that are neglected by others. Problems like diseases in less-developed countries and approaches that industrial folks are not pursuing.
David Chao is President and CEO of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research (SIMR) and Co-Chairman of BioMed Valley Discoveries, Inc.