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Harvard Receives $50 Million to Develop Treatments From Science

Harvard University, the oldest and richest U.S. college, received a $50 million donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation to support development of treatments from basic science discoveries.

The gift will establish a program at Harvard, called the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, to identify promising technologies and license them to companies, Harvard, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said today in a statement. It will also fund a fellowship at Harvard Business School to give students experience in life sciences, the university said.

Universities have increasingly been seen as a source of marketable ideas and products, particularly for potential drugs and treatments, and schools are reaping financial benefits. Harvard received $11.5 million in licensing revenue in fiscal 2012, according to its Office of Technology Development.

“Some of the most important therapies and technologies in existence today originated from alliances between academia and the life sciences industry, and we look forward to many more in the years ahead,” said Isaac Kohlberg, Harvard’s senior associate provost and chief technology development officer, in the statement.

Harvard, established in 1636, has an endowment that was valued at $30.7 billion at the end of June, according to the school. Len Blavatnik, head of the foundation, is chairman and founder of closely held Access Industries Holdings Inc. and owns 14 percent of LyondellBasell Industries NV, the world’s largest producer of polypropylene. He ranks 53rd on the Bloomberg Billionaires list with a net worth of $15.1 billion.

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