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PICI and The V Foundation Announce Partnership to Co-Fund Grants

Annual V Wine Celebration to Kick Off Collaboration Efforts through Immunotherapy Fund-A-Need

SAN FRANCISCO and CARY, NC – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, has partnered with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) to advance immunotherapy research. The partnership kicks off during the 23rd annual V Foundation Wine Celebration, to be held August 5-8, 2021, in Napa Valley, CA. The Fund-A-Need, a targeted fundraising effort focused on a particular area of research, will be dedicated to immunotherapy. The V Foundation will co-fund with PICI up to four Parker Bridge Fellows grants for early career researchers, which are three years in duration. The goal is to raise $2.8 million at the Wine Celebration to support this program.

“We are delighted to partner with PICI to focus on immunotherapy in 2021 because this treatment approach could apply to all cancers which is fundamental to the V Foundation’s efforts to conquer cancer in all its forms, at every stage of life,” said Carole Wegner, Ph.D., HCLD, senior vice president of Research and Grants Administration at the V Foundation. “Together, with PICI, we are working to bring our vision of victory over cancer closer to reality every single day.”

The Parker Bridge Fellows grant program was one of the first initiatives PICI founded following its launch in 2016. The goal is to empower the most ambitious early career researchers to pursue their boldest ideas to transform the immunotherapy landscape for cancer patients. In addition to funding, the program involves a mentored training period and an independent faculty research support period. This collaborative framework connects scientists with world-renowned researchers, as well as data and infrastructure to solve the toughest problems in the cancer immunotherapy space. Through partnerships like this one, PICI has bridged the gap between academia and industry, co-funded novel research, enabled unprecedented data sharing and streamlined study design and patient accrual on national clinical trials.

“PICI is founded on the belief that we are strongest when we work together, and we’re always grateful for the chance to collaborate with like-minded organizations who share our commitment to supporting the brightest rising stars in the field,” said Lisa Butterfield, Ph.D., vice president of PICI Research and Development. “These early-career researchers are working on game-changing ideas that can lead to new treatments and improve patient responses, boosting our efforts to turn all cancers into curable diseases.”

The Wine Celebration activities will be hosted by Duke University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, V Foundation Board Member and ESPN “SportsCenter” Anchor Sage Steele, and ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas. From the gala dinner and live auction, to the Answer for Cancer symposium and ‘Rock the V’ party, the event is expected to host about 450 guests and will feature CNN Commentator Paul Begala as the guest speaker.

The V Foundation funds game-changing research and all-star scientists to accelerate victory over cancer and save lives. Currently holding 10 consecutive 4-star (highest) ratings from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, the Foundation is among the top 2% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is also a GuideStar Platinum-rated charity.

For more information about the Wine Celebration, please visit For details regarding the V Foundation, PICI, or to donate, please visit

About the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy:

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) is radically changing the way cancer research is done. Founded in 2016 through a $250 million gift from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker, the San Francisco-based nonprofit is an unprecedented collaboration between the country’s leading immunotherapy researchers and cancer centers, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford Medicine, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The institute also supports top researchers at other institutions, including City of Hope, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Institute for Systems Biology and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. By forging alliances with academic, industry and nonprofit partners, PICI makes big bets on bold research to fulfill its mission: to accelerate the development of breakthrough immune therapies to turn all cancers into curable diseases. Find out more at

About the V Foundation for Cancer Research  

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded more than $260 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Event proceeds benefit cancer research funded by the V Foundation. The Foundation awards game-changing grants through a competitive process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit

About the Wine Celebration:

Since 1999, the V Foundation Wine Celebration, benefitting the V Foundation for Cancer Research, has raised over $118 million for cancer research and related programs. This annual fundraising event in the Napa Valley demonstrates that commitment, passion and giving become the catalyst for positive change. The 2021 V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 5 – 8 in the Napa Valley. For more, please visit


VF Media Contact:

Cheyenne O’Connell
(516) 410-9503

PICI Media Contact:

John Infanti
Senior Science Communications Manager
Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
(628) 899-7604