The Hutch, as it is known locally, plans to use the funds to:
- Recruit scientific experts to work in and across immunotherapy, precision oncology, viruses and vaccines, prevention and early detection, data science and health disparities research.
- Enhance research facilities, including the construction of a 390,000-square-foot building on the South Lake Union campus that will house the recently announced Stuart and Molly Sloan Precision Oncology Institute.
- Expand the center’s clinical trials infrastructure to allow for more bench-to-bedside collaborations and increase patient access to and enrollment in new studies. This includes ensuring that trials include participants from historically underrepresented groups.
- Advancing strategies that use the body’s immune system to treat cancer.
The landmark donation from the Bezos Family Foundation comes on the heels of The Hutch’s merger with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in April. A large portion of the funds, about $300 million, will be used to hire 36 new researchers and scientists along with the necessary lab space, equipment, technology and support teams.
“As long-time Fred Hutch supporters, we were encouraged to see the recent merger expand its capacity to aggressively investigate and treat cancer and infectious diseases,” said Mike Bezos, vice president and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation and father of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “We hope our investment in The Hutch leads to answers for the most pressing medical questions,” he said in a statement.
Over the next decade, Fred Hutch hopes to raise about $3 billion for collaboration and work related to new medical breakthroughs. The new Precision Oncology Institute was made possible by a $78 million donation by the Sloans in September.
“I am extremely grateful to the Bezos family for the support they’ve shown us,” Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, Fred Hutch president and director, said in an interview. “They’ve been involved with us for nearly two decades and they’ve been critical to us along the way in establishing the Bezos Immunotherapy Center and helping us in our response to COVID.”
The Bezos family has previously contributed to Fred Hutch’s CAR T-cell therapy research, an immunotherapy-focused research center, and two new data science and cancer research centers.