University Hospitals, a seven-hospital system based in Cleveland, launched an initiative to develop a not-for-profit clinical research institute and a for-profit drug development company.
Ohio system launches drug-development initiative
The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development will be funded by a $100 million ongoing investment that University Hospitals began several years ago, an additional $100 million that the for-profit company plans to raise from other academic institutions and private investors, and a $50 million gift.
“One of the challenges that we have today is that many biomedical discoveries end up staying on the shelf; they never get commercialized,” said University Hospitals COO Dr. Achilles Demetriou in a news release. “Through the Harrington Project, we are providing a mechanism for physician-scientists to function in a structured environment where they can be challenged, coached and supported to develop their insights into therapies.”
The research institute, which will be called the University Hospitals Harrington Discovery Institute, plans to fund physician-scientists' clinical development projects as part of a program called Harrington Scholars.
Dr. Jonathan Stamler, director of the UH Harrington Discovery Institute, said the development programs will likely focus on oncology, cardiovascular, infectious diseases and neurology therapies, and physician-scientists will receive mentoring, funding and infrastructure.
The for-profit company, which is currently operating under the name BioU, is expected to provide commercialization support to the therapies and products developed by the physician-scientists. According to the news release, the company will build a portfolio of early-stage development programs.
Last fall, the company hired Robert Keith, the president and CEO of Verus Pharmaceuticals until 2009, as CEO. Keith reports to a board of directors, which plans to hire a management team.
A spokesman for University Hospitals said additional information about the company will be released this spring.
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