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Bloomberg Makes Surprise Appearance at Healthcare Conference

Update Date: Oct 22, 2013 08:07 PM EDT
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a surprise appearance at the Annual Galien Forum in New York on Tuesday to help launch a new program for scientists based in New York City.

The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance by The Pershing Square Foundation and The Sohn Conference Foundation was announced today at Galien Foundation's annual conference to promote and recognize innovation in the healthcare industry.

"The Galien Foundation does a lot of work to support both research and the innovatives who are developing treatments and are saving lives around the globe," Bloomberg said Tuesday at the conference.

"The Pershing Square Foundation and The Sohn Conference Foundation are two of our city's leading philanthropies committed to helping people live healthier and much more fulfilling lives, and so the Galien Forum is just the event to launch the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance," he said, adding tha thte latest alliance "it really is a pioneering effort to reward scientific innovation and the prevention and treatment of pediatric and adult cancers, which cause so much suffering and tragedy around the world."

Bloomberg also took the opportunity to promote public policies he implemented as mayor.

"We all know that an awful lot of these cancer could be avoided if we could just take control of our own destinies - stop smoking, stop overeating, and stop using so much sugar," he said. "I am happy to say that New York City's life expectancy is now two and a half years greater than the average across America, and three years greater than it was 12 years ago."

The Alliance will provide scientists in New York City more opportunity to take risks and pursue research at a time when traditional funding is lacking. Prizewinners will be given a stipend of $200,000 per year for up to three years. The Alliance will also grant $1 million to the Sohn Conference Foundation to support the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship.

"The Pershing Square Foundation is proud to support scientific leaders in the fight against cancer," Bill Ackman, co-founder of The Pershing Square Foundation and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management said at the conference. "The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance will enable innovators to find cures that benefit society.  This is especially critical now as the scientific research community faces the most drastic federal defunding in decades."

"It is critically important to fund and guide young scientists so they can make groundbreaking discoveries. The Pershing Square Sohn Prize will play a catalytic role in bridging the gap between academia and the pharmaceutical industry, creating a culture of entrepreneurs for cures," said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of The Rockefeller University.

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