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$50M Gift Establishes Precision Medicine Institute in Honor of Costco Co-Founder


Costco co-founder Jeffrey Brotman died in August, but friend says the new institute will be a lasting treatment to his generosity.

University of Washington Medicine today announced the formation of a new precision medicine center that it will operate in collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

"With the convergence of bioscience, technology and data science, the three of us—Fred Hutch, Seattle Children's and UW Medicine—are working together and with organizations across Washington to revolutionize cancer treatment,” Fred Hutchinson President Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, said in a statement. "Our collaborative effort is putting our region at the forefront of finding cures for cancer.”

The newly-announced Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine will be a tribute to Jeffrey Brotman, co-founder of the retail chain Costco. Brotman died in early August, but before his passing he and his wife Susan, alongside childhood friend Dan Baty and wife Pam, decided to donate $50 million to establish the institute.

"He was excited about what precision medicine will accomplish in the prevention and treatment of diseases," Susan Brotman said in a statement. "We are proud to establish the Institute for Precision Medicine with the Batys."

Early on, according to the statement, the institute will focus on trying to catalog tens of thousands of possible BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to better understand which confer the highest risk of breast cancer.

The new institute will create a network of research labs in the Seattle area across the 3 collaborating health organizations. It will be led by Jay Shendure, MD, PhD, a professor of genome sciences at University of Washington and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

"A typical patient doesn't really exist, yet for more than a century, medicine has been focused on diagnosing and treating typical patients," Shendure said. "Precision medicine aims to use an individual patient's unique genetic code to more effectively diagnose and individually treat that person…the institute will accelerate this process."

In the statement, Dan Baty said that Jeff Brotman was drawn to precision medicine because of its transformative potential. The gift, he said, will be a lasting treatment to his longtime friend’s generosity.

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