The X PRIZE Foundation has announced its second prize (which turns out to be the largest medical prize in history): the first group that maps 100 human genomes in 10 days will be paid $10 million in cash.
From the announcement:
This is the second major prize from the X PRIZE Foundation. In 1996, the Foundation offered the Ansari X PRIZE for Private Spaceflight. Until now, The X PRIZE Foundation has been considered part of the nascent private spaceflight industry. Exactly two years ago today the $10 Ansari X PRIZE for Private Spaceflight made world headlines when it was won by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a team led by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Their winning entry, SpaceShipOne, is now the prototype for a new class of sub-orbital spaceflight.
“The X PRIZE Foundation has created a unique philanthropic prize model designed to stimulate research and accelerate development of radical breakthroughs that will benefit humanity,” explains Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. “The Archon X PRIZE for Genomics will revolutionize personalized medicine and custom medical treatment, forever changing the face of medical research and making genome sequencing affordable and available in every hospital and medical care facility in the world.”
Three teams have already signed up for the competition. VisiGen Biotechnologies, Inc. is based out of Houston, TX and is led by Susan Hardin Ph.D., 454 Life Sciences is a Connecticut based company headed up by Christopher McLeod and the third team, which is made up of the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, and Firebird Biomolecular Sciences LLC. They make their home in Gainesville, FL and Steve Benner is the team leader. Many other companies have inquired and more teams are expected to register soon.