Washington D.C. (October 4, 2006) — The X PRIZE Foundation announced today the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics — A multi-million dollar incentive to create technology that can successfully map 100 human genomes in 10 days. The prize is designed to usher in a new era of personalized preventative medicine and stimulate new avenues of research and development of medical sciences.
On hand to help the X PRIZE Foundation make this historic announcement were some of the industries top minds representing the full landscape of this exciting new foray into biotechnology. Speakers at the press conference included Dr. J. Craig Venter, Chairman and CEO of the J Craig Venter Institute, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Anousheh Ansari, First Female Private Space Explorer and Co-Founder & Chairman Prodea Systems, Inc., Sharon Terry, President and CEO of the Genetic Alliance, Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association and Dr. Stewart Blusson, President of Archon Minerals. Archon Minerals is the title sponsor of the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics after a generous multi-million dollar donation by Dr. Blusson.
Rapid genome sequencing is widely regarded as the next great frontier for science and will eventually allow doctors to determine an individuals’ susceptibility to disease and even the genetic links to cancer. Mapping your genetic code is like taking an X-Ray allowing doctors to see inside your genetic past and eventually help determine your genetic future.
Only after we have access to affordable and fast genome sequencing will we be able to take advantage of the countless benefits. This technology helps us refine and perfect our knowledge and practice of preventive medical treatments and procedures. Preventing disease is the next best thing to curing disease.
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.
X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational non-profit prize institute whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs in space and technology for the benefit of humanity. On October 4th, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private craft to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. Because of the dramatic nature of the achievement, the X PRIZE Foundation is now widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. Based on the success of the Ansari X PRIZE, The Foundation will develop new prizes in other major scientific areas.
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