Napster Pioneer Funds Institute for Cancer Research Collaboration


Sean Parker image via JD Lasica/Flickr

Sean Parker is donating $250 million to start the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and bring researchers together, including Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Sean Parker’s early fame was as a disrupter, allowing millions of music fans to share music files through Napster in apparent violation of intellectual copyright laws.  He later went on to advise and lead Mark Zuckerberg’s grand idea to link people through a platform called “The Facebook.”  You will remember in the movie “Social Network” Parker’s throwaway line to Zuckerberg, “By the way, just call it Facebook.”  Which he did.

Parker’s disruption has earned him a fortune of over $2  billion of which he has now using $600 million to fund life sciences research and specifically $250 million in an institute to get more cancer therapies to market faster and more cheaply, focusing on cancer immunotherapy.  Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center along with Memorial Sloan Cancer Center, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Stanford, and the University of California campuses in San Francisco and LA are participants.

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will involve about 300 researcher in 40 laboratories on the six campuses  to improve on existing approaches that are not now being explored.  The Institute will also work with companies in understanding why some cancer treatments are not working as hoped.

As part of the announcement, Parker will host a party at his house in LA to celebrate the start of the immunotherapy project.  Attending will be Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Ron Howard, venture capitalist John Doerr, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and California Governor Jerry Brown.  Lady Gaga and Penn’s John Legend are scheduled to perform.

“Social Network” the movie becomes social network, the cancer fighter.  Chalk another one up for the benefits of social media and their visionary founders.

For more detail, see: and


This entry was posted in Case Studies, disruption, Innovation, Research, Silicon Valley, Social Media, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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