The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences may not be the Nobel Prize, but the 11 inaugural winners aren't likely to complain. The researchers and scientists honored last week each get $3 million, more than twice the cash that comes with the Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology.
The Breakthrough Prize sponsors are a group of tech heavyweights, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Genentech Chairman Art Levinson.
The winners, mostly American, represent some boldface institutional names in medicine and research, including Princeton University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Among those honored are five physicians, including one doc who got a little attention last fall. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, shared the 2012 Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology with Sir John Gurdon, of the Gurdon Institute at Cambridge University. Yamanaka, who also is senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, won both prizes for his work on induced pluripotent stem cells.
Next year, the list of winners will be trimmed to five, but the cash prize stays at $3 million per honoree.