Huntington’s Researcher Among 2016 Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award Winners

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the 2016 recipients of its Harrington Scholar-Innovator Awards, given in support of physician-scientists whose discovery research holds promise in advancing the standard of patient care.

Among this year’s winners is Stanley N. Cohen, MD, from Stanford University, who received $700,000 to continue work into the development a novel therapeutic strategy and target for treating Huntington’s disease (HD).

The Institute is a part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, which aims to fill an unmet need in academic medicine by moving discoveries into the clinical realm. In addition to the financial support given award recipients, the Institute offers mentoring by leaders in the pharmaceutical industry to guide the researchers on matters like FDA regulatory strategy, commercial development, and target validation. During the mentorship process, the scientists retain intellectual property of their work.

“This intense, hands-on support is considered by our scholars the most important aspect of their engagement with us,” said Harrington Discovery Institute’s director, Jonathan Stamler, MD, in a press release. “We are serious about accelerating cures and cultivating a network of physician-scientists across the nation and around the world who are on the front lines of drug development.”

Other 2016 Harrington Scholar-Innovator full grant recipients are:

  • Gerald I. Shulman, MD, PhD, Yale University, to further develop a novel approach to treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes;
  • Ann Marie Schmidt, MD, NYU School of Medicine, to further develop a therapeutic to prevent and treat diabetic complications, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Susan P. Perrine, MD, Boston University, to further develop a therapeutic for sickle cell anemia, and beta-thalassemia;
  • Kevin D. Niswender, MD, PhD, Vanderbilt University, to further develop novel compounds for diabetes, and psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders;
  • David J. Milan, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, to further develop a promising therapy for inherited heart rhythm disorders;
  • Peter Marinkovich, MD, Stanford University, to further develop a therapeutic for disfiguring skin diseases such as psoriasis;
  • Rama K. Mallampalli, MD, University of Pittsburgh, to further develop inhibitors that prevent lung transplantation rejection;
  • Benjamin Gaston, MD, Case Western Reserve University, to further develop a respiratory stimulant in perioperative and critical care settings;
  • Nunzio Bottini, MD, PhD, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, to further develop a novel biologic for rheumatoid arthritis.

Award recipients also will have access to several rounds of capital support as they move their discoveries into the commercial sphere.

“Many in health care consider that the drug development pipeline is broken,” Dr. Stamler concluded. “We focus on physician-scientists because we know that they are compelled to do this work, driven by their commitment to the patients they treat every day. Their passion is the fuel, and then we provide support, structure and wise counsel from seasoned experts in the field. This combination is what makes our approach so unique.”