The Launch of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts

The Launch of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts

It was a clear fall early morning in New York City October 26th, as 107 year-old George Eberhardt, his wife Marie and their daughter April traveled from New Jersey for a special news announcement for the Archon Genomics XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts, taking place at the New York Academy of Medicine.  This venue was absolutely perfect—housing one of the world’s largest collection of rare medical books dating back to the 15th century—a sharp contrast between the past and the future of medicine.

George later took center stage, charming the crowd with his smile and wit, and on that morning, became the very first genomic pioneer by agreeing to donate his DNA to science in the 100 Over 100 Program.

The Archon Genomics XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts official launch on October 26 was hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Miles O’Brien, former science and technology reporter for CNN.  Miles introduced J. Craig Venter, the first person to draft the entire human genome in 2001 and one of the creative minds that designed the Archon Genomics XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts.

From left - right: XPRIZE Foundation Vice Chairman & President Robert K. Weiss,

Prize Co-Chair Dr. J. Craig Venter, Express Scripts Research Institute President Dr. Felix Frueh,

and Prize Senior Director Grant Campany at the launch announcement in New York.)

Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman & President of the XPRIZE Foundation spoke about the success of the three previous competitions; The $10 Ansari XPRIZE; the $10 Progressive Automotive XPRIZE and most recently, the $1.4 Million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. 

Next on stage was President of Express Scripts Research Institute Dr. Felix Frueh, who stated that making medicine smarter and making it personal is part of Express Scripts’s DNA and one of the main reasons Express Scripts joined forces with the XPRIZE Foundation for this competition. 

I spoke about the timeline of the competition, our new website, and a topic close to my heart, the centenarian community.  This online community will introduce to the world the amazing lives of centenarians who have personally experienced some of the most significant technological advancements in human history.  I then had the honor of introducing our very first genomic pioneer, George Eberhardt.

My concluding remarks were to welcome George  to the stage.  As George walked up the stairs and onto the stage, I shook the hand of one of the oldest men in the United States, and he took his seat next to Miles.  When most retire at 65 years old, George was just getting started on his second of three careers…and is still going strong.  When Miles asked George what is his secret to a long life, George replied “my wife Marie has been by my side for 70 years.”  And, when asked what he has for breakfast, George said “eight prunes, five-grain cereal, green tea, and if Marie is pleased with me, she makes me two fried eggs.”  Read more about George on our 100 Over 100 page.

It was indeed an historic day for everyone at the New York Academy of Medicine. Join us here on this blog to stay informed on “The PRIZE about all of us:” the Archon Genomics XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts.

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