GSK names inaugural winners in competition for academic drug hunters
GSK has selected eight winners in its first Discovery Fast Track competition, designed to translate academic research into starting points for new potential medicines. The contest attracted 142 entries across 17 therapeutic areas from 70 universities, academic research institutions, clinics and hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.
The winning projects show clear opportunities to deal with important unmet medical needs, including antibiotics resistance, diseases of the developing world and certain cancer types. The selected scientists will collaborate with GSK's Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) team, the sponsor of the competition, to rapidly screen and identify novel compounds to test their promising hypotheses. If advanced chemical testing is successful, the winning investigators could be offered a DPAc partnership to further refine molecules and assess their potential as novel new medicines.
"We believe the winning projects represent groundbreaking research concepts that address underserved or unmet medical needs and could help to bring transformative treatments to patients," said Pearl Huang, global head of DPAc.
The 2013 GSK Discovery Fast Track winners are:
- Sarah Ades, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University: A novel approach for an anti-microbial agent class of antibiotic for gram negative bacteria
- Myles Akabas, M.D., Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University: A novel approach for new treatments for malaria
- Lauren Brown, Ph.D., and Scott Schaus, Ph.D., Boston University and Jim McKerrow, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco: A novel approach for new treatments for leishmaniasis
- Rahul Kohli, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania: A novel approach for the design of antibiotics to overcome clinical resistance
- Richard Leduc, Ph.D., Université de Sherbrooke: A novel approach for new treatments for iron overload diseases
- Deborah O'Brien, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: A novel approach to regulation of male fertility
- John Sondek, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: A novel approach for new treatments for metastatic epithelial cancers
- Harvard Medical School. Winner's name and area of science will not be announced.
Launched in the U.K. in late 2010, the DPAc program is a new approach to drug discovery where academic partners become core members of drug-hunting teams. GSK and the academic partner share the risk and reward of innovation: GSK funds activities in the partner laboratories and provides in-kind resources to progress a program from an idea to a candidate medicine. DPAc's reach is global. To date, GSK has initiated nine collaborations in nine disease areas in the U.K., U.S. and Canada.
Work on the winning Discovery Fast Track projects will begin immediately and the first screens are expected to be completed in mid-2014.