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Foundation announces $10 million prize to map 100 human genomes in 10 days

Washington, DC – The X Prize Foundation has unveiled 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.

This is the second major prize from the foundation. In 1996, it offered the Ansari X prize for private spaceflight, which was won by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a team led by 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 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,” says Dr Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation.

At the announcement today were industry figures including 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, 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.

Three teams have already signed up for the competition. VisiGen Biotechnologies is based in Houston, TX and is led by Susan Hardin PhD, 454 Life Sciences is a Connecticut-based company headed by Christopher McLeod and the third team is made up of the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, and Firebird Biomolecular Sciences. It is based in Gainesville, FL and Steve Benner is the team leader. The organization says other companies have inquired and more teams are expected to register soon.