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With his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Sean Parker has been building a dream team of cancer researchers. Since 2016, the Parker Institute — known as PICI for short — has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into six research centers that it’s created at some of the top academic institutions in the country and folded luminaries like the CAR-T pioneer Carl June and Nobel Prize winner Jim Allison into its network.

Now, in its sixth year, PICI is expanding its reach into two more centers that started this fall at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Scientists there will join the network of researchers at the six other PICI centers including ones at Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, said Parker, a co-founder of Napster who founded PICI with $250 million of his own money and has since put hundreds of millions more into PICI.


That means researchers who join the new centers at Dana-Farber and Gladstone will be able to avail themselves of the funding that flows from PICI to the centers. That money, which runs into the millions of dollars per year for each PICI center, can be spent on essentially anything — including things like constructing labs, running a clinical trial, or hiring researchers — at the discretion of the center or the researcher receiving it. That’s something of a rarity in academic funding.

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