Haute 100 SF Update: Mark Zuckerberg, Anne Wojcicki Announce Million Dollar Prizes for Curing Diseases

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Mark ZuckerbergFacebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and 23andMe co-founder (and wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin), Anne Wojcicki, were among an elite group of tech and investment luminaries who announced the Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize.  The new competition rewards the biology research community who works at “curing intractable diseases and extending human life.”

The elite gathering also included Art Levinson, chairman of both Apple, Genentech and of the Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize foundation, and investment guru Yuri Milner, who announced the new $33 million cash prizes.

Zuckerberg said he hopes that the tech industry, which can’t always participate in finding cures, will at least enable researchers and scientists to solve those complicated problems. He also mentioned that moving forward, the prize is really focused on the scientists of tomorrow.

“A lot of this is about the next generation of folks, college students and grad students in labs,” he said. “Hopefully we can create something that will make them want to (take chances and find cures). I hope what we’ve done can serve as that platform. And others will create other prizes to serve other philanthropic efforts.”

Anne_WojcickiWojcicki echoed Zuckerberg’s sentiments. “I hope this inspires people,” she said, speaking to a room full of researchers. “It’s incredibly important, the work that you’re doing….Here’s to the superheros.”

Zuckerberg touted the fact that the recipients will stay involved in the selection process.  “One of the fundamental differences is that the winners are going to pick the winners,” he said, pointing out that this should keep the focus of the prizes at the cutting edge of science.

[Sources: blog.sfgate.com; mashable.com]


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