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April 02, 2020

Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals to Aid in Global Fight Against Coronavirus Pandemic

Initiative will advance therapies for treating Coronavirus and future deadly viruses

April 2, 2020, CLEVELAND, Ohio USA –The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, announced today a new initiative that galvanizes its transatlantic network of academic institutions, foundations, and philanthropic partners to accelerate promising, near-term therapies to treat COVID-19 and its complications and battle future pandemic threats.

In advancing its portfolio of 120 drugs-in-the-making at 54 leading academic centers in North America and the U.K., HDI has developed a proven model that has enabled scientists in academia to accelerate their breakthrough drug discoveries toward trials in patients.

A Call for Treatments

The COVID-19 initiative includes a suite of actions, which are currently underway. These are:

  • Allocate Harrington Discovery Institute operating and grantmaking capital towards near-term COVID-19-related treatment efforts.
  • Accelerate programs in its current portfolio that may target Coronavirus and its clinical ramifications. This entails advancing treatments that may enter clinical trials right away.
  • Issue a transatlantic call for proposals for novel therapies that target Coronavirus and its clinical impact, particularly on the lungs and heart.
  • Aggressively seek broad spectrum antivirals that may avert the next viral pandemic, supporting the well-accepted position in public health that future viral pandemics, whether Coronavirus-related or otherwise, are likely.
  • Raise new capital targeted specifically at advanced and breakthrough treatments for pandemic viruses.

Harrington Discovery Institute will make information available to its partners and the public about each prong of its five-part initiative. Details on the call for proposals and its accelerated timeline will be released soon. Those who are interested are encouraged to check for more information.

“In our pipeline, we have medicines that may help patients right now,” said Harrington Discovery Institute president, Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Innovation and Professor of Medicine at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. “International leaders have stated that we are at war against the novel Coronavirus. Frankly, we have responsibility to contribute. Harrington Discovery Institute is dedicated to using its platform for academic scientists, and the associated pipeline, to source next-generation medicines for unmet needs. This pandemic represents a great unmet need of our time.”

Since 2012, the Harrington Discovery Institute has helped the nation’s best trained physicians and academic scientists translate their breakthrough discoveries into next-generation medicines. HDI advances these discoveries with financial capital and drug development know-how in the form of expert industry teams. By proactively developing sizeable portfolios of breakthrough medicines that meet critical medical need, HDI is particularly well positioned to tackle emergent medical challenges.

Addressing the profound medical need to combat COVID-19 from multiple angles, University Hospitals CEO Tom Zenty said, “Our mission is To Heal. To Teach. To Discover. We co-created Harrington Discovery Institute as part of our commitment to the ‘discovery’ aspects of our mission. Never has the need for HDI been more apparent and our founding premise for HDI been so justified: At a time when hospitals are providing front-line, supportive care, we are privileged through HDI to play an active role in finding new medicines to battle the pandemic here in Ohio and internationally.”

Dr. Stamler explained that Harrington Discovery Institute will work closely with strategic partners on this effort. Philanthropic funders, private sector partners, banking leaders and pharmaceutical company executives have encouraged HDI to move forward where drug and therapeutics needs are greatest. Related to Coronavirus, the private sector and philanthropic community have quickly made tremendous strides toward new vaccines and repurposing of approved drugs; HDI sees opportunity to significantly complement those programs through treating the complications of the current virus, protecting against new viruses and viral subtypes, and accelerating the development of broad spectrum antivirals.

The institute’s partnerships with hundreds of academic drug discovery organizations across North America and in the United Kingdom provide it with rapid and strong access to top physicians and scientists developing drugs that may help treat the virus and complications from the virus. It will now add resources to this platform so that academic scientists can address the medical crisis and new landscape.

“Our generous funders like the Harrington Family and University Hospitals have supported us because they are dedicated to bringing new treatments to patients and to saving lives. They are extremely eager to see Harrington Discovery Institute align our efforts with immediate international need,” stated Dr. Stamler.