Swiss Billionaire, Founder of Synthes in West Chester Commits $131 Million to His Alma Mater

Image of Hansjoerg Wyss via The Wyss Foundation.

Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss – the founder of Synthes, the medical device manufacturer in West Chester that is now DePuy Synthes – will gift $131 million to Harvard University through his private foundation, writes Deniz Cam for Forbes.

The gift is earmarked for the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. This was established by Wyss’s $125 million gift a decade ago.

The donation comes less than a year since Wyss pledged to donate $1 billion to worldwide conservation efforts over the next 10 years.

“When talented, creative people are given the freedom to work together across disciplines, there are few problems they cannot solve,” said Wyss. “In the last decade, the Wyss Institute has made breakthrough after breakthrough to improve medicine and to apply the latest science to the betterment of peoples’ lives.”

Wyss, who was born in Switzerland, attended Harvard Business School in 1963, and after he graduated, he started Synthes. The company’s products help patients recover from trauma and injuries to skeletal and soft tissue.

Wyss then decided to sell his company to Johnson & Johnson seven years ago for $20.2 billion in cash and stock. Since then, his philanthropic contributions have doubled.

Read more about Hansjoerg Wyss in Forbes here.

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