Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2008 (Revised June 2008)

The Broad Institute: Applying the Power of Genomics to Medicine

by Vicki L. Sato and Rachel Gordon


In June 2003, Harvard University and MIT announced an unprecedented partnership to create a biomedical institute, The Broad Institute. The culture of the Broad centered on science, and those involved considered it to be at the edge of the scientific frontier. In just four years the Broad had made many important scientific contributions to the biomedical field. These included understanding genetic alterations in cancer; building an RNAi Consortium to better understand the role of every gene in the human body; creating an integrated database that mapped the connections among drugs, genes, and diseases; and cataloging inherited genetic variations of Type 2 Diabetes. Opportunities for additional important scientific advances beckoned but would require both funding and physical space. The Broad Institute's leaders, including Altshuler, Director of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics, and Golub, Director of the Cancer Program, needed to decide how big was too big. How many projects could the Broad productively support? What happened when the Broad outgrew its physical space? Altshuler and Golub knew that the Broad had made tremendous strides in the past year. It had minimized barriers and attracted many young scientists who viewed the Broad as an exciting place to do research. That success made the question of how to balance the priorities of growth and the preservation of the culture that had made everything possible all the more important.

Keywords: Education; Health Care and Treatment; Innovation Leadership; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Culture; Partners and Partnerships; Research and Development; Genetics;


Sato, Vicki L., and Rachel Gordon. "The Broad Institute: Applying the Power of Genomics to Medicine." Harvard Business School Case 608-114, March 2008. (Revised June 2008.)