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Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center Announces Grant Funding to Physician-Scientists at Major Academic Medical Centers to Support New Drug Development

Friday, December 07, 2012

Areas of drug development include Alzheimer’s, ALS, Cancer, Diabetes, Wound Healing, Pain Management, Pulmonary disease and Cardiology

Cleveland, Ohio – The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center has announced the recipients of the inaugural grant program focused at supporting the nation’s best physician-scientists and their efforts to accelerate promising drug discoveries into novel treatments for patients.

For the last decade, American medicine has been challenged in developing new drugs. Lacking government funding or adequate industry support, many researchers have discoveries that are unable to advance into clinical development.

Aimed at addressing this critical issue, the Harrington Discovery Institute opened a competitive annual grant competition in May to identify the nation’s most propitious medical breakthroughs and to accelerate their entry into the clinic. This year’s inaugural grant program will award 10 of the nation’s most promising physician-scientists with Harrington Scholar-Innovator grants of up to $200,000 over two years. In addition, these Scholar Innovators will be given access to a newly formed world class Innovation Support Center, where industry experts will provide critical commercialization assistance and financial resources to progress the discoveries into products.

“This is an important step in our efforts to create a new model for drug discovery and development in academia,” says the institute’s director, Jonathan Stamler, MD. “Supporting physician-scientists through the Harrington Scholar-Innovator grants and Innovation Support Center will address the funding and expertise gaps that exist, thereby helping these researchers to move their clinical discoveries forward.”

The 2012 Harrington Scholar-Innovator grant recipients are:

  • Marc Diamond, MD - Washington University in St. Louis
    Alzheimer’s disease:
    Development of a novel “anti tau” antibody therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Roger Greenberg, MD, PhD - University of Pennsylvania
    Cancer:
    Development of new class of anti-cancer drugs for breast and ovarian cancer, using a novel drug screening technology.
  • Geoffrey Gurtner, MD - Stanford University
    Wound Healing:
    Development of a novel topical drug to heal wounds, particularly in diabetic populations.
  • Richard Kitsis, MD – Einstein College of Medicine
    Myocardial Infarction:
    Creation of a first-in-class drug to reduce heart cell damage from acute myocardial infarction.
  • Wolfgang Liedtke, MD, PhD - Duke University
    Pain Control:
    Development of a new class of drugs that inhibit the pain response in skin with potential applications in painful skin conditions including sunburn and wound pain.
  • Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD – Case Western Reserve University
    Pulmonary HTN & Liver Regeneration:
    Discovery of a novel compound that increases tissue prostaglandins to treat multiple human diseases, including pulmonary hypertension, liver regeneration and cancer.
  • Scott Oakes, MD – University of California, San Francisco
    ALS and Multiple Myeloma:
    Discovery of a novel life-death switch in cells caused by protein misfolding, that could lead to novel drugs for ALS, diabetes, and multiple myeloma.
  • Jonathan Powell, MD, PhD - Johns Hopkins University
    Diabetes:
    Development of a novel class of drugs that treat diabetes and obesity by lowering bad cholesterol (triglycerides) and glucose, and by generating brown (good) fat.
  • Larry Schlesinger, MD - The Ohio State University
    Tuberculosis:
    Development of a new class of anti-TB drugs that shorten the duration of TB treatment and prevent development of resistance, which threatens patients world-wide.
  • Robert Wilson, MD, PhD - University of Pennsylvania
    Cancer:
    Identification and optimization of novel RNA-based drugs that treat all classes of cancer.

Harrington Scholar Innovators will receive guidance on use of resources from experts in drug development and additional support for grant and business plan writing, and for securing necessary intellectual property furthering the transition into the commercial realm.

“Physician-scientists will be able to tap into a peer network of innovators and mentors within the Harrington Discovery Institute’s infrastructure to support their discovery efforts,” adds Dr. Stamler, who is also Director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

The Harrington Discovery Institute will host an inaugural scientific symposium on May 9 – 10, 2013 on the campus of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center. The symposium will showcase the work of some of the nation’s leading physician-scientists as well as that of Harrington Scholar Innovators.

“Our overall goal is to build a network of institutions and physician-scientists sharing resources, technologies and ideas, all toward accelerating drug development in our academic medical centers for the benefit of human health,” explains Dr. Stamler. “In total, these programs are intended to ensure that physician-scientists can advance their discoveries and that their careers are dedicated to furthering the mission of changing the standard of care.”

The Harrington Discovery Institute at UH Case Medical Center, launched in February 2012, is the not-for-profit academic medical engine of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development – a first-of-its-kind, $250 million initiative that also includes a mission-aligned, for-profit development company, BioMotiv. Aligning these entities has, for the first time at an academic medical center, provided a comprehensive model to advance discoveries into development and create novel drugs and therapies for patient care.

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