The Harrington Discovery Institute
at University Hospitals announced today that it has joined with the Foundation Fighting Blindness
in Columbia, MD, which was co-founded by former Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund in 1971, to form a new initiative for fighting blindness.
The Gund-Harrington National Initiative for Fighting Blindness will focus on finding treatments and cures for the millions of people affected by inherited retinal diseases that lead to blindness. The two organizations will provide up to $50 million in new funding and resources to support up to 30 physician-scientists in their research and quests for cures.
“We are hopeful to make progress together toward ending blindness,” says Jonathan Stamler, director of the Harrington Discovery Institute. “The Gund-Harrington Initiative will combine the focused philanthropic initiatives of two families to create a new model to fight eye diseases. Gund-Harrington support will provide the nation’s cadre of top physician-scientists unique opportunities to create new medicines that will improve sight.”
The partnership will also create the National Center of Excellence in Fighting Blindness, which will seek drug development projects based on scientific and creativity criteria and the potential to rapidly advance to commercialization. Gund-Harrington Scholars will carry out their research at their respective institutions and will receive direct oversight from the Innovation Support Center of the Harrington Discovery Institute, which houses a pharmaceutical team of experts who are charged with overseeing drug development.
Stamler cites the partnership as a perfect pairing of non-profit and for-profit models that will speed treatments to market. “These foundations have access to the top minds and cutting edge work for mission-critical non-profit pharma work coupled with the for-profit business model to put in place the infrastructure to promote causes for blindness,” he says. “We are combining these family resources and insights to be on the cutting edge and speed pharmaceuticals to market.”