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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
Date:12/5/2012

CLEVELAND, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development
The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development (The Harrington Project), announced in late February, is a first-of-its-kind initiative and is powered by a $50 million gift – the largest donation in UH history – from the Harrington family, recognized entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Cleveland. It includes the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and a for-profit, mission-aligned development company, BioMotiv.

Aligning the entities for the first time with an academic medical center as an engine for innovations, The Harrington Project provides a comprehensive model to advance discoveries into development and to create novel drugs and therapies for patient care.

The open design of the institute – based at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland's University Circle – will allow for collaboration with major academic medical centers across the country. University Hospitals Case Medical Center is a nationally recognized academic medical center and is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

For more information about The Harrington Project, the Harrington Discovery Institute and the Scholar-Innovator grants program, go to: UHHarringtonDiscoveryInstitute.org

The Creation of a Novel Commercialization Vehicle: Bringing Discoveries to Market
As part of the The Harrington Project, the Institute is aligned with a new mission-driven, for profit development company, BioMotiv.  BioMotiv will build a portfolio of high-value, early-stage development programs and will leverage the extensive insights and networks of national scientific and commercial advisory boards. It will advance programs to a stage of clinical development that will attract additional financial and industry partners. For more information go to:  BioMotiv.com.

About University Hospitals
University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and clinical research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopaedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University.  University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the 2012 recipient of the American Hospital Association – McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for its leadership and innovation in quality improvement and safety. For more information, go to UHhospitals.org.


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SOURCE University Hospitals Case Medical Center
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