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At $3 Million, New Award Gives Medical Researchers a Dose of Celebrity

Eleven scientists, most of them American, were scheduled to be named on Wednesday as the first winners of the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology — $3 million each, more than twice the amount of the Nobel Prize.

The award, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, was established by four Internet titans led by Yuri Milner, a Russian entrepreneur and philanthropist who caused a stir last summer when he began giving physicists $3 million awards.

The others, whom Mr. Milner described as old friends, are Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google; Anne Wojcicki, the founder of the genetics company 23andMe and Mr. Brin’s wife; and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. They plan to give five awards annually.

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