Prize Description

The Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research is an annual award to fund the most promising young scientists in New York City’s medical institutions and universities. It serves as a catalyst for collaboration among scientists, academics, nonprofits, business investors, and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.  The program seeks to guide philanthropic funds to feed critical scientific discoveries, attracting like-minded philanthropic investors to the cause of fighting cancer and creating a pipeline for early-stage biomedical investments.

The program associated with the Prize will facilitate collaboration with other departments within and across institutions. It will require young researchers to partner with a mentor in the pharmaceutical industry to facilitate drug development in the quest for cures. The program will culminate with a retreat for the Prize recipients, where academic and pharmaceutical scientists, investors and philanthropists will connect and share ideas. The Pershing Square Sohn Prize winners will present their most innovative and promising work to a business audience at the annual Sohn Investment Conference.

Read about the 2017 Winners.


  • Discover and develop the next generation of innovation in cancer research.
  • Facilitate collaborations between young academic researchers, clinical researchers and pharmaceutical scientists. Most young researchers lack an understanding of the many steps required to translate great research into a great medicine: formulation, stability, delivery, clinical trial design, regulatory submission, manufacturing, supply chain and market analysis are just some of these steps.
  • Spur industry collaboration by adopting the unconventional step of pairing brilliant young researchers with mentors from the industry to expose them to the factors beyond research that determine if a drug will ever be developed. While there is no IP transfer to Pharma, nor a subsidy to Pharma research, we anticipate that our brilliant Prize winners will learn about how drugs are developed with the hope that Pharma may license the researchers’ work and take it through the “valley of death” to drug development.
  • Bridge the gap between academia, foundations, investors and pharmaceutical partners to create a generation of partners working for cures.
  • Build a strong network around innovative life sciences in New York City
  • Highlight the importance of innovation in academic research in New York City and eventually tie the innovation to the commercialization of life sciences in New York City.
  • Create a cohort of Pershing Square Sohn Prize winners that will benefit both from interaction with each other and with the financial community through the Sohn Foundation and Conference.
  • Focus on establishing New York as a Biotech hub and facilitate the participation of many of New York’s great research leaders who would be unlikely to become involved and lend their names to our project if the scope was global at the start.
  • Celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.

How to Apply