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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Areas of drug development include retinal diseases, neonatal brain injury, cancer, hypertension, atherosclerosis, pain management, resistant infections, lung disease and cardiac arrest

December 11, Cleveland, Ohio – The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center has announced the 2014 recipients of Harrington Scholar-Innovator Awards. The awards will support drug discovery efforts of great promise at renowned institutions across the nation.

For the past decade, American Medicine has been challenged in developing new drugs that would improve on standard of care. Lacking knowhow and industry support, many discoveries are unable to advance into the clinical realm. Aimed at addressing this critical issue, the Harrington Discovery Institute (HDI), established in 2012, is a national initiative dedicated to physician-scientists, enabling them to transform breakthrough insights into novel medicines. The institute has become the catalyst for a new national model that aligns, through structure and mission, for-profit and nonprofit resources to create a dedicated system for drug development.

The HDI opens an annual grant competition each spring to identify the nation’s most promising medical breakthroughs and to accelerate their usage in patient care. In its second year, the program has chosen 11 researchers to receive Harrington Scholar-Innovator grants of up to $200,000 over two years. In addition, these Scholar-Innovators will be given access to HDI’s Innovation Support Center that includes a renowned group of industry experts who are charged with helping guide drug development. Successful initiatives will have access to additional capital support to further the transition into the commercial realm.

“By identifying promising scientific discoveries and linking the researchers responsible for them with scientific and business experts in drug development, we set out to build a bridge across the ‘Valley of Death’ – the chasm between the laboratory and commercialization of new therapies,” says the institute’s director, Jonathan Stamler, MD. “We provide inventors – Harrington Scholar-Innovators of unusual promise from around the nation, who share a laser-sharp focus on advancing innovations – with biopharmaceutical expertise necessary to conquer disease.”

The 2014 Harrington Scholar-Innovator grant recipients are:

Jayakrishna Ambati, MD – University of Kentucky
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Development of novel therapeutics to treat AMD, a major cause of blindness in the elderly
Darren Carpizo, MD, PhD – Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
  • Cancer: Development of a first-in-kind anti-cancer drug that restores the function of the most commonly mutated cancer gene
Garret FitzGerald, MD – University of Pennsylvania
  • Hypertension and Atherosclerosis: Development of a novel therapeutic for the treatment of hypertension and atherosclerosis, among the world’s most prevalent diseases.
Mark Humayun, MD, PhD – University of Southern California
  • Ischemic Retinal Diseases: Development of an innovative oxygen delivery device to treat ischemic retinal diseases, a leading cause of blindness worldwide
John Kheir, MD – Harvard University
  • Hypoxemia and Cardiac Arrest: Development of an injectable form of oxygen to prevent life-threatening hypoxemia in medical emergencies such as cardiac or respiratory arrest
Rahul Kohli, MD, PhD – University of Pennsylvania
  • Bacterial Drug Resistance: Development of a novel approach to circumvent antibiotic resistance in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis and hospital-acquired infections
Gavril Pasternak, MD, PhD – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Pain Management: Development of a novel class of analgesics more potent than morphine, but lacking the negative side effects and addictive properties
Irina Petrache, MD – Indiana University
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Development of a first-to-market disease-modifying therapy for patients with COPD, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
David Rowitch, MD, PhD – University of California, San Francisco
  • Neonatal Brain Injury and Stroke: Development of a novel therapeutic approach to treat neonatal brain injury, Down syndrome and stroke
Jean Tang, MD, PhD – Stanford University
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma: Development of a novel topical drug for the treatment and prevention of a common form of skin cancer that affects millions worldwide
David Wald, MD, PhD – Case Western Reserve University
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): Development of a novel therapeutic to treat AML, the most common form of leukemia in adults

“Our overall goal is to build a network of physician-scientists across the nation on the front lines of drug development,” explains Dr. Stamler, who is also Director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at the School of Medicine. “When fully scaled, the Harrington Discovery Institute plans to have the capacity to develop 40 drug therapies simultaneously every three years. It is an aggressive agenda toward changing medicine and society by enabling a global infrastructure of physician-scientists to turn their discoveries into medicines.”

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 national model to advance discoveries into therapies that benefit patients.

This past year the Harrington Discovery Institute at UH Case Medical Center has developed partnerships with the American Society for Clinical Investigation, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

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