Monday, September 28, 2009

News Article - Children's Hospital Boston's Technology Development Fund Announces First Annual Awards

Published: September 28,2009

Children's Hospital Boston's Technology Development Fund Announces First Annual Awards

Awards Seek to Advance Promising Research into Potentially Life Saving Products

BOSTON, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Technology and Innovation Development Office (TIDO) at Children's Hospital Boston announced awards totaling $1.2 million to support the advancement of promising research into potentially life saving products. The awards support efforts that range from pharmaceuticals and diagnostics and medical devices to vaccines and tissue engineering.

The selected projects seek to produce a wide array of technologies including: new diagnostic test for appendicitis; novel pneumococcus vaccines, affordable to the developing world; ground breaking procedures for the repair of congenital defects; and eight other projects. "This fund is critical to advancing the development stage of Children's innovations, moving them closer to becoming new treatments and tests that will benefit our young patients, and patients worldwide," said Erik Halvorsen, PhD, director of TIDO. "We are excited to be pushing this process forward and have found the right combination of efforts by engaging industry experts on our advisory board to work along side us in identifying, evaluating and mentoring the projects chosen for these awards."

"The Technology Development Fund provides investigators with the support we need to translate our ideas and scientific discoveries into products that will advance patient care and improve safety," said Debra Weiner, MD, PhD, emergency medicine and award recipient. "This unique funding program creates a powerful collaboration between TIDO and the investigators, which provides critical financial resources and technology development expertise for early phase development of innovations that may not progress otherwise."

The next step involves pairing up investigators with members of the advisory board who will work with Erik Halvorsen and Monique Yoakim-Turk PhD, technology development manager, to guide the projects.

Below is the list of funded projects and investigators:

    --  Slow-release anti-angiogenic drug for treating eye diseases (Ofra Benny,
PhD and Robert D'Amato, MD, PhD, Vascular Biology);
-- Topical treatment of peripheral neuropathies (Gabriel Corfas, PhD,
Neurobiology Program);
-- Fetal tissue engineering to repair congenital diaphragmatic hernia
(Dario Fauza, MD, Surgery);
-- Semaphorin 3F as a treatment for prostate cancer (Elena Geretti, PhD and
Michael Klagsbrun, PhD, Vascular Biology Program);
-- Pediatric vision scanner (David Hunter, MD, PhD, Ophthalmology);
-- Urine diagnostic markers of acute appendicitis (Alex Kentsis, MD,
Division of Hematology/Oncology, Richard Bachur, MD, Emergency Medicine,
and Hanno Steen, PhD, Proteomics);
-- Packaging oxygen for intravenous injection (John Kheir, MD, Anesthesia,
Perioperative and Pain Medicine);
-- Novel pneumococcal vaccine (Ying-Jie Lu, PhD, and Richard Malley, MD,
Infectious Diseases);
-- Development of chemical chaperones to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes
(Umut Ozcan, MD, Endocrinology);
-- Hand-held solution to coordinate emergency department care (Debra
Weiner, MD, PhD, Emergency Medicine);
-- Development of an anti-metastatic peptide as a cancer therapeutic
(Randolph Watnick, PhD, Vascular Biology).

"Children's has a rich history as one of the world's leading institutions in the translation of breakthrough discoveries into products that can benefit patients," said Alan Crane, general partner at Polaris Venture Partners and a member of the advisory board. "Children's is contributing to the acceleration of these efforts by providing critical funding and guidance necessary to progress early-stage discoveries."

The projects will be carried out over one year and will involve co-development partners, increasing the probability of receiving additional funding or corporate licensees to bring new products to market. "TIDO's approach is unique and certainly timely," said Beverly Teicher, PhD, vice president of oncology research at Genzyme Corporation and member of the advisory board. "The work that the mentors are doing now will not only educate the current mentees, but will also translate to the next generation of academic investigators, preparing them to move their discoveries toward clinical application."

In March, Children's launched its new Technology Development Fund, to advance promising early-stage hospital technologies. The external advisory board reviewed all projects submitted and recommended projects to fund based on a number of criteria, such as addressing an important, unmet medical need and for the allocated funds to have a significant impact on the development of the technology. For a listing of advisors and their affiliations, please click here.

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 396-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit:

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