Backed by tech devas, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences is being presented to 11 different scientists for their efforts to cure diseases.

Yuri Milner & Mark Zuckerberg on stage.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are giving their considerable social-network fortune to help extend human life together with Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki and  venture capitalist Yuri Milner. The five founders are sponsoring the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a substantial $3 million financial reward that will be doled out annually to ambitious scientists working to cure complex diseases.

“At $3 million per prize, it’s the largest prize for this work in the world,” Zuckerberg said on the occasion.

Today, the first 11 award winners, each of whom are receiving the $3 million prize, are being recognized at an inaugural event hosted at the University of California, San Francisco. The 11 recipients are Cornelia I. Bargmann, David Botstein, Lewis C. Cantley, Hans Clevers, Napoleone Ferrara, Titia de Lange, Eric S. Lander, Charles L. Sawyers, Bert Vogelstein, Robert A. Weinberg, and Shinya Yamanaka.