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Art Levinson, Sergey Brin And Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg And Priscilla Chan, And Yuri Milner Announce The Breakthrough Prize In Life Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO, February 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

11 Inaugural winners receive US$3 million each for Groundbreaking Achievements in Life Science Research

Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and Yuri Milner announced today the launch of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences ("Breakthrough Prize"), recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. The prize will be administered by the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation ("Foundation") dedicated to advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.

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 prizes.

Founding sponsors of the Breakthrough Prize include Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner, who collectively have agreed to establish 5 annual prizes, US$3 million each, going forward.

Art Levinson, Chairman of the Board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech, will serve as the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, while additional directors will include Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner.

"I am delighted to announce the launch of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and welcome its first recipients," said Art Levinson. "I believe this new prize will shine a light on the extraordinary achievements of the outstanding minds in the field of life sciences, enhance medical innovation, and ultimately become a platform for recognizing future discoveries. I also want to thank our founding sponsors, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and Yuri Milner. Without their contribution, this prize would not have been possible."

"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 heros in society," said Anne Wojcicki.

"Curing a disease should be worth more than a touchdown," said Sergey Brin.

"Priscilla and I are honored to be part of this," said Mark Zuckerberg. "We believe 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."

"Solving the enormous complexity of human diseases calls for a much bigger effort compared to fundamental physics and therefore requires multiple sponsors to reward outstanding achievements," said Yuri Milner.

Going forward, each year's prize winners will join the Selection Committee for future awardees. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Breakthrough Prize will be a transparent selection process, in which anyone will be able to nominate a candidate online for consideration. Also, the prize can be shared between any number of deserving scientists and can be received more than once. In addition, there are no age restrictions for nominees.

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