Born August 21, 1853, Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome was an American-British pharmaceutical entrepreneur. Along with colleague Silas Burroughs, Wellcome started a pharmaceutical company called Burroughs Wellcome & Co. which would become the leader in innovation and medical research. Although today there are numerous laboratories and research facilities testing medications, in the 1890s Wellcome was truly a pioneer in his approach to medical research. Rather than focus on commercial success for monetary gains, he and his scientists were committed to the advancement of knowledge for the sake of the public’s health.
After Wellcome’s death in 1936, his will provided for the creation of the Wellcome Trust, a global foundation dedicated to improving human and animal health. In the past 70 years, the organization has grown to become the largest charity in the UK. Wellcome Trust provides philanthropic funding to a variety of focus areas, including biomedical science, technology transfer, public engagement and biomedical ethics. There are fellowships and grants available for those with goals of translating research into useable health products.
Most recently in October 2010, Wellcome Trust began providing research training programs for physicians who wish to pursue careers in academic medicine. The foundation is also currently supporting clinicians’ research in developing a treatment for obesity based on natural appetite suppression. The foundation currently spends over $600 million a year in medical research funding.
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