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The Founder of Lululemon Is Spending $100 Million to Try to Beat the Super Rare Disease That's Destroying His Muscles Wilson was given the diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, in 1987 when he was 32 years old.

By Lakshmi Varanasi

Key Takeaways

  • Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, has FSHD, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
  • He's investing $100 million into finding a cure through his venture philanthropy fund, Solve FSHD.
  • Bloomberg reported he was testing a host of longevity treatments, such as acupuncture and IV drips.
Reuters via Business Insider
Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, has been living with a rare muscular disease for the past several decades, and he's funneling $100 million of his multibillion-dollar net worth into finding a cure.

Wilson was given the diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, in 1987 when he was 32 years old, Bloomberg reported. The disease causes the progressive loss of skeletal muscle and affects a little under 900,000 people worldwide, according to FSHD Society. Wilson has an even less common form named FSHD2 that affects just 5% of those with the disease, Bloomberg noted. In other words, he's one of about 43,000 people with FSHD2.

For years after the diagnosis, Bloomberg reported, Wilson maintained a pretty active lifestyle. But he told the outlet he had a "wake-up call" decades later when he was signing a deal with China's biggest athletic-apparel maker, Anta Sports Products, to buy a stake in the Finnish sports company Amer Sports and found himself struggling to walk.

By 2022, he had launched a venture philanthropy fund named Solve FSHD, which aims to develop a cure for the disease by 2027, according to its website. Solve is particularly focused on finding new therapies for FSHD2 and has so far deployed close to $31 million into biotech companies working on various interventions, its website says.

Wilson seems to believe that ultrawealthy entrepreneurs can be powerful catalysts for medical innovation because they have the funds to attract talent and take a more results-driven mindset to research than charitable or government organizations. He told Bloomberg that capitalism had "created everything good in the world."

Bloomberg reported that in the meantime, Wilson was also resorting to experimental procedures and testing several longevity and wellness treatments. He was undergoing electroacupuncture; going for IV drips of NAD, which is an enzyme that plays a critical role in healthy cell function; taking weekly doses of the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin; and taking daily doses of testosterone, the outlet reported.

Solve FSHD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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