Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and a funder of Facebook, has announced his newest endeavor – to ‘hack’ cancer.
Sean Parker – the founder of Napster, and funder of Facebook – recently launched his most ambitious project to flip the world on its head once more.
His $250-million pledge to create the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy was designed with one goal in mind – to ‘hack’ cancer.
Make no mistake – this isn’t just a naïve aim of some bored tech billionaire. This is a project Parker is seemingly all-in on, and deeply engaged with. After all, he’s always been interested in the field of immunology, he’s made friends with the field’s top minds, and he’s aware of the flaws of the drug development system after studying it himself.
His most impressive achievement thus far is arguably getting six of the nation’s top cancer hospitals to sign an agreement to share intellectual property with one another. For years, there was virtually no collaboration within the field that has always been hampered by a competitive, lone-wolf approach.
It was Parker’s willingness and hands-on involvement that convinced the esteemed hospitals to join his collective. It’s a unique approach, a new brand of philanthropy, that he shares with other tech moguls: envisioning problems with a ‘hacker phenotype’.
“They come with an intellectual self-confidence, the feeling that you can take on really complex challenges if you put your mind to it. And these are people who have been validated in thinking that way,” says Parker.
He agrees the approach is more hands-on and involved – and that’s not a bad thing.
“As they approach these problems, they bring a tech-driven mindset that is going to be useful and this intellectual confidence that gives them the ability to enter these fields and to engage on an intellectual level and not just as a donor.”