Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

Kevin D. Niswender, MD, PhD

Kevin Niswender, MD, PhD is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and in molecular physiology and biophysics.

The Niswender Lab is working to optimize a novel, orally bioavailable, small molecule glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) with sufficient physicochemical and DMPK properties to test efficacy of a novel mode of GLP1R receptor modulation. The ultimate goal is to generate a novel human therapeutic that capitalizes on a validated target, but utilizes a novel mode of receptor regulation thereby optimizing outcomes while limiting liabilities. Diabetes and obesity are devastating chronic diseases with enormous societal, personal and health care related costs. Current therapeutic approaches have limited long term efficacy, and none have proven truly disease modifying. Innovative approaches to new therapeutics are desperately needed to improve human health and change the natural history of chronic disease. Neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders are often co-morbid with metabolic disorders, are an important public health concern in their own right, and are also addressed in the current project.

They believe that their tool compounds and related analogs can be fully developed with favorable drug-like properties, enabling in vivo proof-of-principle testing of the hypothesis that GLP1R PAMs will offer therapeutic advantages over existing full agonist, injectable therapeutics and fully access CNS GLP1R upon oral dosing. Over the next two years, Dr. Niswender, with the support of Harrington Discovery Institute, will deploy state of the art medicinal chemistry, in vitro pharmacology, and in vitro and in vivo drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic approaches to the optimization of our current GLP1R agonist scaffold. He is working toward a drug like entity that can be used in pre-clinical efficacy studies and ultimately engender translation to a human therapeutic.

Dr. Niswender is a physician-scientist who sees endocrinology and diabetes patients in referral and teaches fellows, residents and medical students clinical endocrinology. He received his B.S. from Colorado College and completed his MD and PhD at Vanderbilt University, where he studied Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Dr. Niswender was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2013.

Dates to Know

April 5, 2017
Letter of Intent Deadline

May 31, 2017
Full Application Deadline (For those invited)

December 2017
Awardees Notified

Harrington Project

The Harrington Discovery Institute is the nonprofit arm of the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, an international initiative supporting breakthrough research by physician-scientists. The Project is a new and powerful approach to address some of the challenges hindering advancement of medicine today.

The Harrington Grant is an important part of the overall pharmaceutical research initiative created by The Harrington Project.

For Questions

For questions about the Scholar-Innovator grants or the application process, please email HDIquestions@HarringtonDiscovery.org.