The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation announces that Jack Ma, the prominent Chinese Internet entrepreneur and founder of Alibaba Group, and his wife Cathy Zhang have agreed to join the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation's founding sponsors (Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner). This brings the total number of annual prizes to six, $3 million each. All prizes will be awarded for research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life, with special attention to recent discoveries; one prize is aimed specifically at advancements in Parkinson's disease research. The names of the winners will be announced before the end of year 2013.
In addition to financial support related to the Prizes, the Foundation is pleased to announce that Jack Ma has agreed to serve as a director, joining Art Levinson (Chairman), Mark Zuckerberg, Anne Wojcicki and Yuri Milner.
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Online nominations for 2014 Breakthrough Prizes were opened on September 3, 2013 and will be accepted through October 2, 2013.
"It is my honor to be able to contribute to innovation in the field of medical research, and I hope that this can one day help make a difference in the lives of many," said Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.
"We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Jack Ma to the project. It's great news for the Prize, and great news for medical science: there are now six 3-million-dollar prizes for trailblazing thinkers who are advancing science and helping to save lives," said Art Levinson, CEO of Calico and Chairman of Apple Inc., Genentech, Inc., and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation.
Jack Ma is the lead founder of Alibaba Group. After the company's debut in 1999, he served as chairman and chief executive officer for more than a decade, with responsibility for overall strategy and focus. On May 10, 2013, he stepped down as chief executive officer, but he remains executive chairman and continues to shape Alibaba Group's business strategy and management development.
Jack, who holds a bachelor's degree in English from Hangzhou Teacher's Institute, currently serves on the board of SoftBank Corp., a leading digital information company publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He is also a director of Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, a company listed on The Shenzhen Stock Exchange. In 2009, Jack became a trustee of The Nature Conservancy's China program, and he joined the global board of directors of the organization in 2010. Since May 11, 2013, he has served as chair of The Nature Conservancy's China board of directors.
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.
The 2014 prize winners will be selected by the Foundation's Selection Committee, which comprises prior recipients of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, including 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 and Shinya Yamanaka.
Source: Breakthrough Prize Foundation
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