Entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Kirsch founded CETF to fund outpatient clinical trials of repurposed drugs.

Like many people, the pandemic hit the Kirsch family hard. Steve is in a high-risk group for serious COVID-19 infection and cannot safely resume his normal life until there are proven treatments that prevent COVID-19 deaths. He recognized just how many people have underlying conditions that put them at risk for serious illness and death from the virus, and he found that fact unacceptable. Combine the medical risks with the financial hardships experienced by families and businesses everywhere, and it became clear that waiting for a long-term solution like a vaccine was not an option. This big problem required immediate action.

Luckily, Steve likes solving big problems.

A serial entrepreneur, Steve has founded several companies including Mouse Systems, Frame Technology Corp., Infoseek, Propel, Abaca, OneID, and Token. He holds several patents and invented an early version of the optical mouse.

While his wife made masks and his daughter organized blood drives, Steve put his regular business in the hands of his co-founder and fully dedicated himself to finding a panacea. Using his engineering background, he did extensive research and consulted leading medical experts on the front lines of the pandemic — contacts from his past 20 years of funding medical research for glaucoma, diabetes, and cancer.

Steve quickly came to believe that the fastest, most effective way to reduce fatalities is by leveraging existing drugs to treat patients at the onset of infection. He also identified a surprising lack of funded research in the space, which led to the creation of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund.

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