Award mints millionaire biologists

March 7, 2013

A team of entrepreneurs has awarded its first round of a $3-million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Nature News Blog reports.

Last summer, Russian social media magnate Yuri Milner awarded the first Fundamental Physics Prizes, a series of $3-million awards to theoretical physicists.

Now he has decided to invite biologists to the party, uniting with former Genentech chief executive Art Levinson, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to sponsor five annual $3-million prizes.

This year’s winners include those working in genomics (David Botstein and Eric Lander), cancer (Lew Cantley, Hans Clevers, Napoleone Ferrara, Charles Sawyers, Bert Vogelstein and Robert Weinberg), telomeres (Titia de Lange), stem cells (Shinya Yamanaka) and neurobiology (Cori Bargmann).

“Only one, to my knowledge, also has Gangnam Style (video here),” reveals the blog.