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Harvard Business School Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator Launches Strategic Playbook For Organizations Working To Bring Cures To Patients

 Harvard Business School Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator announced today the launch of a playbook designed to help the approximately 20,000 disease-focused organizations operating in the United States bring treatments and cures to market faster. The playbook, on the Accelerator’s website, will help non-profits and other organizations build better, faster business models for finding cures more efficiently.

The playbook comes at a time when there are new, dire needs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, as non-profits push to keep innovative research alive, while also maintaining funding streams. According to the National Health Council and Research!America, non-profits invest up to $7 billion each year to advance research, making them the fourth largest contributor for U.S. medical and health R&D. The National Health Council estimates that healthcare non-profits are facing up to a 70% drop in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in turn hindering the progress of clinical trials and the development of new drugs.

Kathy Giusti and Richard Hamermesh convened and studied the strategies of more than 300 leaders and organizations over the past four years. Focusing on four critical areas: direct-to-patient, data and analytics, clinical trials and venture and investment, they incorporated best practices into a comprehensive playbook that includes every aspect involved in finding cures: from formulating and executing an effective strategy, to establishing strong leadership and partnerships, to driving sustainable revenue models. In addition to bringing insights from prominent non-profits – including the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Muscular Dystrophy Association – the Accelerator involved innovation across the entire healthcare ecosystem and other industries.

“From Blueprint Medicines to Peloton to Pfizer, and from Marriott to Mass General, we heard insights to improve customer experience and drive results,” said Giusti, co-chair of the Accelerator and founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “As a result, we’ve reimagined the business model for disease-focused non-profits to include game changing business plans and models.”

The Accelerator was launched in 2016 through a generous donation from the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation. Robert, along with his son Jonathan, founded the Accelerator after Myra lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Determined to fuel progress in cure-producing medical areas such as precision medicine, the Krafts decided to apply business tactics to scientific innovation.

“We strategically chose to launch the Accelerator with Harvard Business School because we know that the right business model can move mountains,” said Robert Kraft. “The Accelerator is helping us to democratize cures by identifying and teaching the best business models to non-profits, biotechs and any organization working to cure a range of devastating diseases. It’s our hope that this work will one day mean that no one loses a spouse, parent or loved one to a disease like cancer.”

“We’ve found that disease-focused organizations with the right tools are able to take advantage of the current era of unprecedented scientific progress and accelerate toward more effective treatments and cures,” said Hamermesh, co-chair of the Accelerator. “This playbook equips the next generation of cure-seekers with the know-how needed to succeed within an immensely complicated, 100-year-old healthcare ecosystem.”

Making the playbook accessible to all organizations at no cost is essential. In June, Giusti and Hamermesh led a virtual training on how to use the playbook with the Milken Institute’s FasterCures and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to help inform and guide accelerator approaches for their respective organizations. Among the training participants, 70 percent found the tools in the playbook to be very or extremely useful, and 100 percent of attendees said they would highly recommend the playbook to other organizations.


The Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator was established in 2016 with a $20 million endowment from the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation, Inc. to advance high-priority opportunities in precision medicine. Co-chairs Kathy Giusti, founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Richard Hamermesh, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, lead a diverse team of health care and business visionaries in four integrated workstreams: Direct-to-Patient, Data and Analytics, Innovative Trials, and Venture and Investment. The Accelerator team works within Harvard Business School to leverage its unique resources and world-renowned faculty as well as its alumni and students.


Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and HBX, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.