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Brainstorm Health: Paul Allen’s Legacy, Apple’s Wellness Push, Gun Deaths

Good afternoon, readers.

Paul Allen—Microsoft co-founder, tech titan, and Seattle mogul—passed away almost exactly two months ago. But the legendary entrepreneur’s legacy is living on with a major contribution from his estate to study the body’s disease-fighting agents.

In what’s being billed as the first major philanthropic gift from the estate following Allen’s death, the Allen Institute announced this week a $125 million gift meant to help establish the Allen Institute for Immunology, which will be centered on studying diseases related to the immune system.

“Understanding the human immune system in detail and figuring out what goes wrong in disease is an incredibly complex but solvable problem. I’m thrilled to see us launch into this new area of complexity in biology with a real opportunity to directly impact human health,” said the Institute’s CEO, Allan Jones, in a statement.

The organization will initially focus on the blood cancers multiple myeloma and melanoma, as well as more widespread immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Some prominent names will be powering the new immunology center—including longtime Lilly Research Laboratories vet Thomas Bumol.

The Allen Institute generally is focused on advancing the life sciences, including through its existing arms centered on brain and cell science.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Apple’s wellness push. Apple has reportedly hired almost 50 medical doctors as part of its medical and wellness segment push, according to CNBC. It’s unclear exactly what purpose these doctors will serve (Apple’s comms shop is notoriously tight lipped about these kinds of things), but adds to a now-well-established trend of the tech giant foraying into the health care sector, whether through data collections or devices and apps such as its recent ECG-equipped Watch Series 4. (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

Senators introduce drug price hike bill. A slew of Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would give the government some authority to block what it would deem “unjustified” drug price hikes. Such legislation probably has a long shot in the GOP-controlled Senate (although the Trump administration has voiced general outrage on the drug pricing issue); it’s also notable that at least two of the Democrats sponsoring the bill, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris, are widely expected to run for president in 2020. (Reuters)

THE BIG PICTURE

Gun deaths reach an all-time high. Gun deaths in America spiked to nearly 40,000 casualties in 2017, an all-time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It’s a record unmatched since at least 1979, and (as usually the case with firearms-related deaths), suicides made up the large majority of deaths. (CNN)

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Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

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