Gift has launched the Center for Therapeutic Discovery at Dana-Farber to accelerate novel medicines for cancer patients
The Linde Family Foundation has made a catalytic gift of $10 million to launch the Center for Therapeutic Discovery at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a center that will be home to a new team devoted to the development of novel therapeutics for patients with rare and hard-to-treat cancers. Investigators across Dana-Farber will be invited to submit their most promising drug candidates for focused funding and expert support.
“Dana-Farber continues to lead the way in innovation and drug discovery. It is our hope that this gift will bring discoveries even closer to the clinic, leading to new treatments for pediatric and adult cancers,” said Karen Linde Packman, trustee of the Linde Family Foundation and trustee of Dana-Farber.
“The Linde Family Foundation’s commitment to Dana-Farber over the years has been extraordinary and continues with this magnificent gift as part of The Dana-Farber Campaign. Launching the Center for Therapeutic Discovery will ensure our most promising cancer drugs move further along the pre-clinical pipeline and reach patients faster. We are so grateful for the Linde family’s partnership,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of Dana-Farber and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine.
This gift, and the center it has launched, builds on the family’s prior support of Dana-Farber’s Chemical Biology Program and Department of Pediatric Oncology, including the Linde Family Program in Cancer Chemical Biology, established by the Linde Family Foundation in 2008 to pursue some of the most intractable problems in new cancer drug design. Since its inception, the Linde Family Program has attracted top scientists and its work has resulted in the formation of seven start-up companies, six new investigational drugs, and three current clinical trials, and has significantly contributed to two FDA-approved drugs, all based on scientific breakthroughs made at Dana-Farber.
The Center for Therapeutic Discovery is co-led by two of Dana-Farber’s leaders in drug discovery, Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, chair, Department of Pediatric Oncology and the David G. Nathan, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, and Eric Fischer, PhD, director, Chemical Biology Program. They will be guided by an advisory committee of internal and external cancer experts who will help select the most promising therapeutic projects for further development.
Armstrong has made seminal discoveries into the causes of pediatric leukemia and the epigenetic mechanisms that lead to cancer in children. This work has led to several new classes of therapeutics currently being tested in clinical trials for both children and adults with cancer.
Fischer is a world-renowned expert in cutting-edge approaches to structural and chemical biology, including targeted protein degradation.
“Drug discovery for rare cancers—like all pediatric cancers—often goes unaddressed because the market is perceived to be too small. We view the Center for Therapeutic Discovery as a catalyst to drive drug discovery for rare cancers. This generous support from the Linde Family Foundation allows Dana-Farber to invest in novel therapeutic projects with a focus on impact, not profit, delivering new options and hope for patients facing the toughest cancers,” said Armstrong.
“This new center will be a resource to all Dana-Farber investigators interested in moving a drug candidate from the bench to the bedside. The most promising projects will receive significant funding to run key experiments and benefit from a new team of experts rarely found in academic medicine. This wonderful gift helps us further foster Dana-Farber’s culture of innovation,” said Fischer.
Drug candidates will be chosen based on their ability to address pediatric and adult cancers with poor treatment outcomes and only move forward if they achieve strict milestones along the pre-clinical pipeline. Bringing Dana-Farber’s best drug candidates closer to clinical trials will facilitate company creation and licensing opportunities for Dana-Farber, leading to new sources of revenue for the Institute to reinvest in its scientific mission. Research is integral to Dana-Farber’s mission and in the last five years, more than half of all FDA-approved cancer drugs were developed with significant contributions from Dana-Farber investigators.
The Center for Therapeutic Discovery is a strategic priority for Dana-Farber and launches with the vision of a $40 million investment over the next five years, comprised of philanthropic and Institute sources. The Linde Family Foundation has pledged an additional $5 million if an equal amount can be raised from other donors and a sustainability plan for the center has been developed.
The gift is part of The Dana-Farber Campaign, the multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer by accelerating revolutionary science, extraordinary care, exceptional expertise, and essential opportunities.