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Broad Institute Names First Board of Directors

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has taken its last step, but a significant one, in its year-long transition to a permanent, independent nonprofit by naming its first board of directors, a 14-member panel that will help shape the scientific direction of the genomic medicine research institute, as well as oversee its finances.

The new board, which has yet to select a chair, includes eight "designated" members — Eric Lander, the Broad Institute's president, who also is a professor at MIT and Harvard Medical School; two members designated by Harvard, two by MIT, two by the Broad Foundation, and one by Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

Until its re-launch as an independent 501c3 nonprofit on July 1, the Broad Institute was governed jointly by MIT and Harvard, though the institute was legally an MIT entity. MIT and Harvard provided financial support and services for the institute's initial 2004 launch, which followed the first of two $100 million commitments by Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad.

"As for the science, that proceeds as it did before the transition to nonprofit status, with deep collaborations across MIT, Harvard, the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and beyond," Nicole Davis, a Broad spokesperson, told GenomeWeb Daily News.

"We're largely through the transition. I'd say we're finished," Davis said.

That transition, she added, is unlikely to affect the current numbers of people carrying out research for the Broad Institute — more than 100 faculty members, and more than 1,500 scientists, from MIT, Harvard, the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and collaborators from other institutions. Broad participates in collaborations covering more than 100 private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Joining Eli Broad, founder of the Broad Foundation, and Lander as designated board members are:

• MIT President Susan Hockfield;

• Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust;

• Jeffrey Flier, dean of the faculty of medicine at Harvard Medical School;

• David Baltimore, president emeritus of the California Institute of Technology and a Nobel Laureate, the board's second Broad Foundation designee.

• Dennis Ausiello, chief of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School; and

• Phillip Sharp, institute professor at MIT and like Baltimore, a Nobel Laureate.

The board's six other members are non-designated by specific category, but include some of the life sciences sector's luminaries in academia, industry, research, and professions:

• Seth Klarman, president of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment adviser.

• William Lee, a co-managing partner of the law firm WilmerHale.

• Arthur Levinson, chairman of Genentech.

• Patty Stonesifer, former president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a senior advisor to the foundation's trustees.

• Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate with companies in the communications/information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products, and chemicals industries.

• Diana Chapman Walsh, president emerita of Wellesley College.

The board has been created to have between 13 and 16 members. Davis said board members will fulfill fiduciary responsibilities that include setting directions for fundraising as well as management of the institute's endowment.

In addition, according to Davis, the board will share responsibility with the Broad's Board of Scientific Counselors for the direction of the institute's research, as well as address some administrative and strategic issues.

The naming of the board capped a process toward independence that began in September 2008, when Eli and Edythe Broad announced their intent to donate $400 million for use as a permanent endowment, in addition to their initial pair of gifts totaling $200 million. In July, when the Broad became a permanent nonprofit, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation paid out its first $100 million installment of the endowment.

As for the initial gifts, they are being distributed at $20 million per year over 10 years, a roughly 10 percent slice of the Broad's annual budget, which now exceeds $200 million. The remainder comes most from federal grants such as those awarded by the NIH and NSF, though the institute also receives gifts from other donors and private funding agencies. Davis said the Broad would release more detailed financial information in its annual report, its first as an independent nonprofit.

"Just settling down to business is the biggest task ahead," Davis added.