11 Inaugural winners receive US$3 million each for Groundbreaking
Achievements in Life Science Research
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - 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
Lewis C. Cantley
Titia de Lange
Eric S. Lander
Charles L. Sawyers
Robert A. Weinberg
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
"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
"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
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.
All Breakthrough Prize recipients will be invited to present public
talks targeting a general audience. These lectures, together with
supporting materials, will be made available to the public, allowing
everyone to keep abreast of the latest developments in life sciences,
guided by contemporary masters of the field.
About the Breakthrough Prize Foundation:
The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation is a not-for-profit
corporation dedicated to advancing breakthrough research in life
sciences, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the
pursuit of science as a career. Additional information about the
Foundation and the 2013 recipients of the prizes can be found at http://www.breakthroughprizeinlifesciences.org.
About the prize winners:
Cornelia I. Bargmann
Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang
Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at the Rockefeller
University. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
For the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost
Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the
Anthony B. Evnin Professor of Genomics at Princeton University.
For linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA
Lewis C. Cantley
Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor and Director of the Cancer Center at
Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
Professor of Molecular Genetics at Hubrecht Institute.
For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and
Titia de Lange
Leon Hess Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and
Genetics, and Director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research at
the Rockefeller University.
For research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends
and their role in genome instability in cancer.
Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Senior Deputy Director for
Basic Sciences at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California,
For discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies
for cancer and eye diseases.
Eric S. Lander
President and Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute
of Harvard and MIT. Professor of Biology at MIT. Professor of Systems
Biology at Harvard Medical School.
For the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease
genes, and enabling their application to medicine through the creation
and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome
Charles L. Sawyers
Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Howard Hughes Medical Institute
For cancer genes and targeted therapy.
Director of the Ludwig Center and Clayton Professor of Oncology and
Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer
Center. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
For cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.
Robert A. Weinberg
Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT and Director of
the MIT/Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology. Member, Whitehead
Institute for Biomedical Research.
For characterization of human cancer genes.
Director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto
Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco
For induced pluripotent stem cells.
About the participants:
Arthur D. Levinson is chairman of Genentech, Inc. and a member of the
Roche Board of Directors. He has been chairman of Genentech since 1999,
and he served as chief executive officer of Genentech from 1995 to
2009. Levinson joined Genentech in 1980 as a research scientist and
became vice president, Research Technology in 1989; vice president,
Research in 1990; senior vice president, Research in 1992; and senior
vice president, Research and Development in 1993.
Art was appointed Chairman of the Board of Apple in November 2011. He
had served as a co-lead director of Apple's board since 2005 and a
director since 2000. He is Chairman of the Board of Amyris and a
director of NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. and the Broad Institute of MIT
and Harvard. He was a director of Google, Inc. from 2004 to 2009. He
currently serves on the Board of Scientific Consultants of the Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Industrial Advisory Board of the
California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research, the Advisory
Council for the Princeton University Department of Molecular Biology
and the Advisory Council for the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative
Art has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific articles and has
been a named inventor on 11 United States patents. Art received his
Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington and earned
a doctorate in Biochemical Sciences from Princeton University.
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder chairman and CEO of Facebook, which he
founded in 2004 in his college dorm room.
Mark is responsible for setting the overall direction and product
strategy for Facebook. He leads the design of Facebook's service and
the development of its core technology and infrastructure.
Mark studied computer science at Harvard University before moving the
company to Palo Alto, California. In September 2010, Mark donated $100
million to the Newark Public School System to help renovate and revamp
Sergey Brin, a native of Moscow, received a Bachelor of Science degree
with honors in mathematics and computer science from the University of
Maryland at College Park. He is currently on leave from the Ph.D.
program in computer science at Stanford University, where he received
his master's degree. Sergey is a recipient of a National Science
Foundation Graduate Fellowship as well as an honorary MBA from
Instituto de Empresa. At Stanford, he met Larry Page and worked on the
project that became Google. Together they founded Google Inc. in 1998,
and Sergey continues to share responsibility for day-to-day operations
with Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.
Sergey's research interests include search engines, information
extraction from unstructured sources, and data mining of large text
collections and scientific data. He has published more than a dozen
academic papers, including Dynamic Data Mining: A New Architecture for
Data with High Dimensionality, which he published with Larry Page.
Sergey has been a featured speaker at several international academic,
business and technology forums, including the World Economic Forum and
the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference.
Anne Wojcicki is Co-Founder of 23andMe, a privately held personal
genetics company that helps individuals understand their own genetic
information through DNA analysis technologies and Web-based interactive
tools. By encouraging individuals to access and learn about their own
genetic information, 23andMe aims to create a common, standardized
resource that has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and bring
personalized medicine to the public. Anne has an extensive background
in health-care investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies.
She received a bachelor's degree in biology from Yale University.
Yuri founded Mail.ru Group in 1999. Under his leadership, Mail.ru Group
became the leading European Internet company. Yuri took that business
public in 2010, stepping down from his role of Chairman at the
beginning of 2012 to focus his efforts on global Internet investments.
DST Global, a family of funds investing in Internet companies, was
established in 2009 and is one of the largest Internet investors in the
Yuri graduated from Moscow State University in 1985 with an advanced
degree in theoretical physics and subsequently conducted research at
the Institute of Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2012 he
launched the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation, a not-for-profit
corporation dedicated to advancing knowledge of the Universe at the
deepest level by awarding annual prizes for scientific breakthroughs,
as well as communicating the excitement of fundamental physics to the
SOURCE: Milner Foundation
For further information:
For additional inquiries, contact: Media@breakthroughprizeinlifesciences.org / +1-(415)-671-7676