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Billionaire Tim Springer donates $210 million to protein research nonprofit

Harvard professor and entrepreneur Tim Springer in June 2022.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Harvard Medical School professor and entrepreneur Tim Springer has donated $210 million to the Institute for Protein Innovation, a Boston-based nonprofit research organization focused on protein science. It’s one of the largest donations ever made in the local life sciences community.

Springer, who became a billionaire through his early investment in vaccine maker Moderna, cofounded IPI in 2017 with fellow Harvard Medical School professor Andrew Kruse. Springer previously donated $40 million to IPI. The new money will allow the institute to achieve its mission to advance protein science for biomedical research, said IPI’s president and CEO Ken Fasman. He added that the protein institute’s mission is analogous to what the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have done for genetics and genomics.


“I founded IPI on the premise that a foundry for protein tools, and most importantly antibodies, would help scientists make discoveries, and possibly new therapeutics, for years to come; my gift will help realize this vision,” Springer said in a press release. (In addition to his involvement with Moderna, Springer has been a founder or investor in companies including LeukoSite and Scholar Rock.)

IPI’s goal is to provide antibodies and protein-based tools to the scientific community. The institute creates synthetic antibodies to scientific researchers and private companies.

Fasman said the donation is “transformational.” He added that it will help secure the institute’s future and allow it to reach a broader audience in biomedical research.

“Knowledge about proteins is critical to connect a gene to its function in the body, and Tim’s pioneering support makes it possible for IPI to harness the full power of protein science to extend the successes of genomics in understanding human disease,” said Fasman.

Hannah Nguyen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @hannahcnguyen.