Facebook, Google launch $15 mn prize for scientists who cure deadly diseases

Zuckerberg-Yuri Milner

The founders of Google, Facebook and other tech giants have announced a new multi-million-dollar prize for scientists who are working to cure the world's most devastating diseases.

Mark Zuckerberg, his partner Priscilla Chan, Google co-founder Sergei Brin, 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner will launch 15 million dollars annual Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in hopes of curing cancer and other diseases

Five scientists will be given three million dollars for 'recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life," the New York post reports.

Zuckerberg said in a statement that he believes the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has the potential to provide a platform for other models of philanthropy, so people everywhere have an opportunity at a better future.

According to the paper, the inaugural year of the prize, however, has gone to 11 scientists who will each receive three million dollars to further their scientific research.

Among this years winners were Charles L. Sawyer, who the committee singled out for his work on cancer genes, and Shinya Yamanaka, whose research focuses on stem cells.

Art Levinson, chairman of the board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech, will serve as the Chairman of the Board of Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, which will distribute the prize money each year, the report said.

The first 11 recipients of the Breakthrough Prize are:

- Cornelia I Bargmann

- David Botstein

- Lewis C. Cantley

- Hans Clevers

- Napoleone Ferrara

- Titia de Lange

- Eric S. Lander

- Charles L. Sawyers

- Bert Vogelstein

- Robert A. Weinberg

- Shinya Yamanaka

All prize winners have agreed to serve on the Selection

Committee of the Foundation to choose recipients of future


"We are thrilled to support scientists who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives. These scientists should be household names and heroes in society," said Anne Wojcicki.

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