Main | Thursday, February 05, 2009

Massachusetts Businessman Donates $100M To AIDS Research

A straight married tech exec in MA is giving one of the largest private donations to AIDS research in world history.
A Massachusetts businessman has donated $100 million to fund research into the development of an AIDS vaccine, according to Massachusetts General Hospital, which received the gift. Phillip T. Ragon, provider of the gift, is the chief executive of a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software company called InterSystems Corp. The money will establish the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute, to be based at MGH.

The gift, which will flow through MGH, will be shared with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. "By providing flexible funding and by connecting science and engineering at MIT and Harvard with the research and clinical resources of MGH, we intend to empower many of the world's best researchers to focus on what they view as the most promising research," Ragon said in a statement.

The institute will bring scientists and clinicians together to better understand how the body fights infections and ultimately to apply that understanding to a broad range of infectious diseases and cancers. It will be lead by Dr. Bruce Walker, an MGH researcher and physician and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The initial work of the institute will focus on identifying the effective immune responses in a small group of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, who are able to keep their virus in check without medications. It will work to design strategies to reproduce those responses.

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