NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pershing Square Foundation and The Sohn Conference Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance today at the Annual Galien Forum in New York. The Alliance is dedicated to accelerating cures for cancer by advancing the pursuit of innovative cancer research and by facilitating partnerships between the science and business communities.
The Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research will be the first initiative of the Alliance and will provide New York City-based scientists the freedom to take risks and pursue their boldest research at a stage when traditional funding is lacking. Prize winners will each receive a stipend of $200,000 per year for up to three years. The Alliance will also provide a $1 million grant to the Sohn Conference Foundation to support the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship.
"The Pershing Square Foundation is proud to support scientific leaders in the fight against cancer," said Bill Ackman, co-founder of The Pershing Square Foundation and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. "The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance will enable innovators to find cures that benefit society. This is especially critical now as the scientific research community faces the most drastic federal defunding in decades."
"The Pershing Square Foundation and the Sohn Conference Foundation are two of our city's leading philanthropies committed to helping people live healthier and more fulfilling lives," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "This pioneering new effort to foster and reward scientific innovation will accelerate the advancement of one of our city's fastest-growing industries – the commercial life sciences. That's going to make New York City even more of a world leader in this flourishing and critically important area of research."
The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Prize will also serve as a catalyst for collaboration among scientists, academics, nonprofits, business investors, and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. The program seeks to guide philanthropic funds to feed critical scientific discoveries, attracting like-minded investors to the cause of fighting cancer and creating a pipeline for early-stage biomedical investments. Winners will present their most innovative and promising work to an audience of sophisticated investors at the Sohn Conference during its annual meeting in May.
"It is critically important to fund and guide young scientists so they can make groundbreaking discoveries. The Pershing Square Sohn Prize will play a catalytic role in bridging the gap between academia and the pharmaceutical industry, creating a culture of entrepreneurs for cures," said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., President of The Rockefeller University.
Evan Sohn, Vice President of the Sohn Conference Foundation, said: "This partnership will foster, recognize and reward excellence in scientific innovation to prevent, treat and cure all cancers, ranging from adult to pediatric."
The Alliance is proud to rely on the guidance of a highly accomplished advisory board including: Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., President, Rockefeller University; Craig Thompson, M.D., President and CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., President and CEO, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Siddharta Muckerjee, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Columbia University Medical Center; Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., President, Worldwide Research and Development, Pfizer, Inc.; Allan Goodman, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Institute of International Education; and Pablo Legorreta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Royalty Pharma.
Olivia Tournay Flatto, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance and leads the Pershing Square Sohn Prize. She said: "Bold, innovative projects need funding at the earliest stages, and this Alliance will break down the barriers between the scientific and business communities."
About The Pershing Square Foundation
The Pershing Square Foundation, based in New York, was founded in December 2006 by Karen and Bill Ackman. Bill is the CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. The Pershing Square Foundation has committed $225 million in grants and social investments to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact.
About The Sohn Conference Foundation
The Sohn Conference Foundation is dedicated to supporting innovative initiatives to cure and treat pediatric cancer. Identifying specific areas of need, the Foundation funds groundbreaking research, state-of-the-art technology, and programs to target cures and improve patient care.
SOURCE The Pershing Square Foundation