Tech billionaire Sean Parker has announced a $250m (£175m) grant to fund cancer immunotherapy research.

Mr Parker, the 36-year-old co-founder of file-sharing site Napster and Facebook’s first president, plans to set up a centre for immunotherapy that will work with six US cancer research institutions.

Immunotherapy, which enhances the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells, made headlines when it was used in a successful treatment of former US President Jimmy Carter.

Mr Parker said in a statement that cancer research had reached an “inflection point”.

File photo of Founders Fund Managing Partner Sean Parker attending the eG8 forum in Paris

Mr Parker is estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.4bn

“Now is the time to maximise immunotherapy’s unique potential to transform all cancers into manageable diseases, saving millions of lives,” he added.

The new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will work with over 40 laboratories and more than 300 researchers and immunologists.

All the findings and intellectual property will be shared between researchers, according to a statement.

Progress in the fight against cancer has been slowed over the decades by secretive researchers and drug-makers protecting their discoveries with patents and lawsuits.

Mr Parker – who is estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.4bn (£1.6bn) – and his singer-songwriter wife Alexandra plan to hold a gala event in Los Angeles to mark the launch.

Attendees expected include stars such as Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Sean Penn and Ron Howard.

Tech industry leaders such as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Anne Wojcicki of Google and Laurene Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow, are also expected to attend.

Mr Parker’s centre will be led by University of California-San Francisco scientist Jeffrey Bluestone.

He was appointed to help guide a “moonshot” anti-cancer initiative launched this year by US Vice President Joe Biden.