Entrepreneur Sean Parker creates $250 million network of 300 scientists and 40 labs to ‘solve’ cancer by studying how our bodies can heal themselves through immunotherapy.
Great minds gathering together to think innovation, across disciplines and using technology to connect, not silo ideas. Now THAT’s collective leadership! (excerpt from the Washington Post article)
In designing this new model, the 36-year-old Parker has taken a page from his experience as an entrepreneur by thinking beyond early research to actual therapies that he believes could eventually benefit millions of people in the United States and abroad.
A centralized scientific steering committee comprised of one member from each participating university will set the group’s research agenda and coordinate data collection and clinical trials across the many sites.
More than 300 scientists working at 40 labs in six institutions — Stanford, the University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Pennsylvania, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — have already signed on.
“Cancer immunotherapy is such an incredibly complex field, and for every answer it seems to pose 10 more questions. I’m an entrepreneur so I wish some of these questions had been answered yesterday,” Parker said.
He describes the effort as a way to remove obstacles related to bureaucracy and personality that will allow scientists to borrow from each other’s labs unencumbered. The researchers will continue to be based at their home institutions but will receive additional funding and access to other resources, including specialized data scientists and genetic engineering equipment set to become part of the nonprofit Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco.
Now that’s a cluster of transformational leadership honeycombs!