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Billionaire Sean Parker is nerding out on cancer research. Science has never seen anyone quite like him

It’s been more than three years since the man who helped build Napster, Facebook, and the internet as we know it stormed into the world of science.

When Parker announced that he would spend $250 million of his fortune on efforts to harness the immune system to fight cancer, he seemed to be following a familiar playbook: Yet another billionaire was pouring money into yet another problem that had resisted previous attempts to tame it. Under the auspices of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, or PICI for short, he vowed to fund the research of leading scientists like Allison and Sharma — and encourage them to work together in new ways, always with an eye toward accelerating the development of new treatments.

Since then? The field has never seen anything like Parker, according to researchers and investors who’ve worked with him and independent ones who’ve watched him.

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