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Screening Room Backer Sean Parker Donates $250 Million for Cancer Research

Screening Room Backer Sean Parker Donates
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Sean Parker is making headlines in the in entertainment biz as the backer of the Screening Room film distribution venture, but he made national news on Wednesday by unveiling a $250 million gift to support cancer research.

The San Francisco-based Parker Foundation has created the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy with the goal of uniting research efforts in the immunotherapy arena by number of top research facilities including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, UCLA, UC San Francisco, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Pennsylvania.

The Parker Foundation billed the effort as creating a first-of-its-kind network of more than 40 laboratories and 300 researchers with a mandate to share research and collaborate. The foundation was created last year with a $600 million endowment from Parker. Its areas of focus are life sciences, public health and civic engagement.

The Institute’s “goal is to accelerate the development of breakthrough immune therapies capable of turning cancer into a curable disease by ensuring the coordination and collaboration of the field’s top researchers, and quickly turning their findings into patient treatments,” the foundation said.

Parker, the tech pioneer who was a co-founder and Napster and first president of Facebook, has stirred debate in the film biz with the Screening Room service that he aims to launch in partnership with Prem Akkaraju. The pair have been pitching the major studios on a plan to offer new theatrical releases on a day-and-date basis to viewers in the home for a $50 rental fee.