Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner set up $33 mn BreakThrough Prize

Silicon Valley's biggest names, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner, have come together to launch the BreakThrough Prize in life sciences.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook page.

Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers and engineers.

We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives. 

That's why Priscilla and I are honored to partner with Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Art Levinson and Yuri Milner to create the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. 

 Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner set up  mn BreakThrough Prize

Google co-founder Sergey Brin (L), in a June 27, 2012 file photo in San Francisco, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a September 11, 2012 file photo in San Francisco. AFP

At $3 million per prize, it's the largest prize for this work in the world. I'm hopeful this serves as a blueprint for prizes and philanthropy in other fields as well.

According to this report on the Guardian, there will be 11 annual prizes, each worth $3 million. The newly created Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation announced the names of the first ever winners yesterday. You can view the full list here. The list also includes Shinya Yamanaka, the 2012 Noble prize winner for medicine.

The board for the BreakThrough Prize also includes, Anne Wojcicki, Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife and Art Levinson, Chairman of the Board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech. Levinson will be the Chairman of the Board of the BreakThrough Foundation.

“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, while husband Sergey Brin said, “Curing a disease should be worth more than a touchdown.”

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

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Updated Date: Feb 21, 2013 15:11:33 IST