Researchers from Duke and Vanderbilt Universities are the recipients of the 2015 ADDF-Harrington Scholar Awards. These new grants mark the continuation of the collaboration between the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio—part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development—which was established in 2013 to enhance the potential for success of the most promising drug discovery programs.
The 2015 ADDF-Harrington Scholar Award recipients are:
- Carol Colton, PhD, Principal Investigator, and James Burke, MD, PhD, Physician Collaborator, Duke University, for their work on the immune response in the brain that diminishes arginine, a vital nutrient. Blocking this process with a small-molecule drug prevented the characteristic brain plaques and memory loss in a mouse model of the disease.
- Jerri M. Rook, PhD, Principal Investigator, and Paul Newhouse, MD, Physician Collaborator, Vanderbilt University, for their development of a novel compound for the treatment of symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our partnership with the Harrington Discovery Institute allows us to leverage our combined expertise and resources to advance potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease,” says Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer at the ADDF. “We are excited to support these innovative drug discovery programs. The goal of these awards is to increase the number of Alzheimer’s drug targets in the pipeline and accelerate their development. These two teams have been successful with novel approaches to the disease, and we are encouraged by their results.”
Together, the ADDF and Harrington Discovery Institute provide support to physician-scientists for preclinical drug research and early-stage clinical trials that hold promise but that are typically not far enough along in the drug development pipeline to attract financial support from the pharmaceutical industry.
The 2015 ADDF-Harrington Scholars will receive funding from the ADDF and strategic project management support from the Harrington Discovery Institute’s Innovation Support Center. That support includes consulting and management services from experienced drug development professionals as well as regulatory, intellectual property, and business development assistance.
ADDF-Harrington Scholars also have facilitated access to BioMotiv, a for-profit commercialization company associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, and aligned with the Harrington Discovery Institute in mission and structure. BioMotiv was created to advance discoveries by academic researchers in areas of unmet need.
“Finding novel therapeutics to address Alzheimer’s disease is a pressing, global imperative, which requires all of us to identify truly driven visionaries and offer them no-holds collaboration, across institutions and geographies,” said Jonathan Stamler, MD, Director of the Harrington Discovery Institute and Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation and Director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center.
Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals, launched in February 2012 with a generous gift from the Harrington family of Hudson, Ohio, is part of a $250 million international model, The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, to accelerate the development of medical breakthroughs by physician-scientists into medicines that benefit patients. The model aligns, through mission and structure, nonprofit and for-profit resources into a new system for drug development. It addresses a set of major challenges in medicine that have created a development gap for promising discoveries and contributed to a long-term decline in new medicine approvals. Included in the model is the Cleveland-based development company BioMotiv, a for-profit entity created by Cleveland’s University Hospitals health system in 2012.