Eric Schmidt and Ken Griffin are taking the lead in financing new scientific research that is not being done by the academy or business world.
- Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin are creating Focused Research Organizations (FRO) opportunities through their non-profit Convergent Research.
- Schmidt tells Forbes that his goal is to “unlock major bottlenecks holding back the progress of an entire research field.”
- On Wednesday, the non-profit committed $50 million to research. It has already sponsored two biotech companies: E11 Bio and Cultivarium.
- Two additional biochemistry companies—Eve Bio and Parallel 2 Technology Institution—are preparing to get started as well.
Why It’s Important
FROs are projects too large for academic research but too small for large scientific organizations to focus on—often due to a lack of specific applicability to the market. This creates a grey area in scientific research where knowledge and research bottlenecks until the business world can find a way to profit off of specific scientific advancements. This is the problem Schmidt and Griffin are hoping to solve.
As we reported in November, Schmidt argues that the U.S. will fall behind the rest of the world in tech innovation and science if the country does not invest in research and education now.
Convergent is already considering applications for more than 300 FRO proposals, but the first two approved projects focus on brain mapping and synthetic biology applications. The next two proposals preparing to begin work are Eve Bio and Parallel2 Technology Institute, which are respectively studying the interaction between FDA-approved drugs and human cells and protein analysis that can aid in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research, Forbes reports.
“We aim to support an ecosystem of small-to-mid scale projects that fall between the cracks of what startups, academia, and other organizations do,” says Convergent CEO Adam Marblestone.
“We should be using every tool at our disposal to advance breakthrough discoveries. And new research models can bring together the right teams and resources to drive progress in science and medicine that will impact lives at scale.” Griffin tells Forbes.