Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has received a $10 million endowment from the Pershing Square Foundation, the philanthropic venture of billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his wife, Karen. The money will go to support the lab’s biology and genetics research and education programs.
The principal of the fund will be managed by Ackman’s firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, with CSHL receiving an annual payment of 5 percent of the principal. In 2040, the appreciated fund will be released to CSHL as an unrestricted endowment, named the Pershing Square Innovation Fund, to support research at CSHL in perpetuity.
“As one of the leading biomedical research centers in the world, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory deeply understands the investments and calculated risks necessary for breakthrough discoveries in the life sciences,” Ackman said. “With this long-term investment, CSHL will have the freedom and flexibility to pursue bold research that would not have been possible within a traditional funding structure.”
The grant marks an ongoing collaboration between the lab and the Ackmans. Last year, CSHL cancer researcher Lloyd Trotman won The Pershing Square Sohn Prize for his work on understanding the genetic changes that occur during prostate cancer. Trotman has developed unique technology that creates a human model of prostate cancer and visualizes it in live animals. The groundbreaking technology can be used as a platform to determine how mutations cause cancer and to test potential treatments. Additionally, CSHL’s Christopher Vakoc was awarded special funding as a finalist of the 2015 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for his work on potential leukemia therapies.
The Ackman’s founded the Pershing Square Foundation in 2006. Since then, it has committed almost $350 million in grants and investments to support innovative organizations that tackle social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable solutions.