Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

M. Peter Marinkovich, MD

Dr. Marinkovich is developing an anti-epidermal therapy to treat psoriasis.

M. Peter Marinkovich, MD is on the faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is an associate professor in the Department of Dermatology.

Psoriasis is a highly prevalent skin disorder, affecting approximately 7.4 million US adults. Psoriasis is commonly associated with thickened, red, scaling skin lesions, however the pathogenesis of psoriasis remains largely unanswered. Dr. Marinkovich found that the GTPase Rac1 was dramatically activated in the epidermis of human lesional psoriasis and demonstrated that an activated V12 Rac1 mutant using K14 promoter in epidermis of transgenic mice, producing a clinical, histologic and biological phenotype closely mimicking human psoriasis, including skin, joint and nail changes. He and his team have identified the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) inhibitor Benzamil as a blocker of Rac1 signaling. Using a unique mouse model, they have shown that systemic and topical Benzamil was highly effective as a psoriasis therapy.

The Marinkovich Lab is currently working to provide proof of concept data showing efficacy of ENaC inhibitors in a xenograft model of human psoriasis to supplement the in vitro and mouse in vivo data. They expect to show how ENaC inhibition can compare and perhaps enhance the effects of conventional topical steroids used for this disease.

Over the course of his award with Harrington Discovery Institute, Dr. Marinkovich expects to provide pharmacokinetic and toxicological analysis which, combined with what previous preclinical/clinical toxicology exists on this drug, will allow him to apply for an IND application from the FDA and initiate phase 1 clinical trials on a group of human psoriasis patients. He expects these studies will lay the foundation for development of a new class of highly specific and non-immunosuppressive anti- epidermal based ENaC psoriasis therapies.

Dr. Peter Marinkovich obtained his undergraduate degree in biology with honors at University of California at Santa Cruz in 1984. Following a three year enlistment in the U.S. Army as a field medic in the 7th Infantry, he underwent medical school training at St. Louis University in Missouri where he graduated in 1988. He next completed his internship in internal medicine at University of California at San Francisco, then did his basic research and dermatology residency training at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon in 1994. He has had a longstanding clinical interest in bullous and autoimmune diseases. His basic research has focused on the role of extracellular matrix and the tissue microenvironment in neoplastic, developmental and inflammatory skin disorders.

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.