Getting new treatments and cures to patients more quickly is the goal of a unique life science proof-of-concept model that draws support from higher education, philanthropy and industry experts to move medical innovations from the lab to the market.
The Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation. established at the University of Kansas with funding from the Kauffman Foundation, will focus on education and research that advances medical innovations, ultimately accelerating the number and quality of new drugs, medical devices and drug–medical device combinations from the bench to the bedside. The grant earmarks funding for the Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI), which funnels its drug development work through a partnership with KU, Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital and Beckloff Associates Inc. The Institute will be guided by an advisory board of independent experts and staffed by experienced drug development and medical device leaders to create an unprecedented collaboration of resources and processes to support the Institute.
The Kauffman Foundation grant includes seed funds for up to 24 proof-of-concept projects per year. Based upon the recommendations from the advisory board, the Institute may progress with a varying number of projects from year-to-year. IPI already has identified three drug projects, which will be accelerated by the Institute during the next 12 months.
Scott Weir, PharmD, PhD, director, Office of Therapeutics, Discovery and Development at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, will head up the Institute as its director. Weir, a 20-year pharmaceutical industry veteran formerly with Marion Laboratories Inc., also serves on IPI’s Pharmaceutical Advisory Board and leads KU's pediatric drug development efforts in support of IPI’s mission. Weir joined KU almost three years ago to help the University’s efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute designation, assuming a role partially funded by the Kauffman Foundation.
In addition to its impact in the medical field, the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation will serve as a national model for how philanthropy, industry and universities can collaborate to advance university innovations in life sciences.
The grant also will enable expert faculty to educate the next class of drug and medical device development specialists by giving workshops and courses on the drug commercialization process.