The Harrington Discovery Institute (HDI) at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center has opened its third annual grant competition to fund and support physician-scientists at major academic medical centers across the nation in their efforts to accelerate promising drug discoveries.
The HDI conducts an annual grant competition each spring to identify the nation's most promising medical breakthroughs and to accelerate their usage in patient care. This year, HDI will select up to 12 researchers to receive Harrington Scholar-Innovator grants of $100,000 and will provide significant additional funding based on the needs of the projects. In addition, these scholar-innovators will be given access to HDI's Innovation Support Center, including industry experts charged with helping oversee drug development. Successful initiatives will thus have access to both human and financial capital to further the transition into the commercial realm.
"By identifying promising scientific discoveries and linking the researchers responsible for them with seasoned experts in drug development, we set out to build a bridge over the 'Valley of Death'—the chasm between the laboratory and commercial sector," said Jonathan Stamler, M.D., director of the HDI. "We marry inventors—Harrington Scholar-Innovators—of unusual promise from around the nation with biopharmaceutical expertise necessary to conquer disease."
The grant application is open to physician-scientists at accredited academic medical centers, research institutions and universities in the U.S. Selection criteria include innovation, creativity and potential for clinical impact. Applicants must have a doctorate in medicine and demonstrate exceptional promise. Award recipients will be selected by the Harrington Discovery Institute's scientific advisory board and announced in December.
"The Harrington Scholar-Innovator grants are game-changers for physician-scientists across the country who face a number of obstacles in advancing their breakthrough through commercialization," said Andrew Schafer, M.D., former chairman of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and physician-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "The HDI has identified these obstacles—funding, time pressures and lack of expert guidance—and has created a model specifically designed to reduce, or even eliminate, their effects on therapeutic innovation."
The Harrington Discovery Institute offers the recipients of the funding a unique model for physician-scientists to share with an elite group of scientific and industry advisors and an infrastructure that will provide individualized support, including critical commercialization assistance.
"Our overall goal is to build a network of physician-scientists across the nation on the front lines of drug development," said Stamler, who also is director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University 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 nonprofit 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.