Billionaire Napster founder Sean Parker is hacking cancer with a $250 million institute

Sean Parker — the founder of Napster and former president of Facebook — is putting down a $250 million grant to fight cancer.

Reuters reports that the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will have 40 laboratories and over 300 researchers banded together.

The focus will be on “cancer immunotherapy,” a technique of using the body to fight cancer.

“Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy,” Parker told Reuters.

The emphasis on information sharing echoes with Parker’s personal history as the founder of Napster, the file-sharing Web 1.0 startup that some people (like Metallica) say broke the music industry.

It also shows what Parker has taken to calling “hacker philanthropy,” a Silicon Valley-style of giving that stands in contrast to old money.

In a manifesto written for the Wall Street Journal, Parker described hacker values as antiestablishment, seeking vulnerabilitties in the system, a belief in transparency, and a belief that you can use data to find elegant solutions to complex problems.

“By identifying weaknesses in long-established systems, [hackers] have successfully disrupted countless industries, from retail and music to transportation and publishing,” he wrote.

Now that ethos is being directed at cancer.

Others hacks at the Insitute include sharing research tools between organisations and conducting clinical trials together with standardised data. One top immunologist told Reuters that the Institute takes away the necessity of writing grants, which eats up 30% of his time.

Member insitutions include Stanford Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and Memorial Sloan Kettering.

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