BOSTON-Partners HealthCare awarded $1 million in Innovation Discovery Grants (IDG) to support breakthrough technologies developed by staff at Partners hospitals. The grants are aimed at improving patient care by accelerating the commercialization of these emerging technologies and efforts to make care delivery more efficient. The IDG program funds prototyping, pre-clinical studies, software development and other approaches that can directly lead to a new device, drug, diagnostic, software or other product that can enhance patient care based on the innovation. The IDG initiative is open to all 68,000 Partners employees.

“The IDG process is a significant resource, both for investigators at Partners and for driving commercial development”, notes Keith Kerman, MD, Chair of the IDG industry review committee, a member of Partners Innovation Advisory Board and an Operating Partner with The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm.

The 2016 awards were selected from 219 initial proposal submissions. Final review was made by a committee of top venture investors, senior industry executives and entrepreneurs. 

“These are some of the most promising opportunities across the considerable breadth of cutting edge research among our 3,500 faculty and our $1.5 billion research initiative” said Anne Klibanski MD, Partners Chief Academic Officer and the Laurie Carrol Guthart Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  “This funding can help build an even stronger connection between the ideas of our scientists and Boston’s booming biotech and life sciences industry, which can bring these ideas to life.”

These are some of the most promising opportunities across the considerable breadth of cutting edge research among our 3,500 faculty and our $1.5 billion research initiative.

Anne Klibanski MD Partners Chief Academic Officer and the Laurie Carrol Guthart Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Project awards are to jumpstart commercial application of these new technologies in some of the most exciting areas of medicine and research including the microbiome, immunoncology, remote cardiac monitoring and obesity reduction. The funds will be used for:

  • Reproducibility and validation studies
  • Refining lab and animal models
  • Demonstrating and facilitating scalability of product technology
  • Engineering, design and assay improvements
  • Formalizing collaborations and expanding networks

The 2016 awardees are:

  • Vishal Vaidya, PhD, BWH Nephrology, who has identified a protein the suppression of which has halted the progression of kidney fibrosis in mice.
  • Howard Weiner, MD BWH Neurology, who has come up with a new antibody that fine-tunes the immune response and may serve as a potent anti-tumor drug.
  • Lynn Bry, MD, PhD BWH Pathology, who has cultivated communities of gut microbes that can alter the immune response to prevent or treat food allergies.
  • Blaise Frederick, PhD McLean Psychiatry, who has created a device to monitor, in a non-invasive way, the response to treatment of peripheral artery disease.
  • Elizabeth Lawson, MD MGH Medicine, who has developed a sustained-release formation, applied under the skin, of the hormone oxytocin for use as a weight-loss therapy.
  • Michael Mannstadt, MD MGH Medicine, who has devised a long-acting hormone-replacement therapy for people with hypoparathyroidism, a condition in which the body secrets abnormally low levels of a hormone important in maintaining necessary calcium and phosphorus levels.
  • Casey Maguire, PhD MGH Neurology, who has come up with a gene therapy platform that could help congenital hearing loss.
  • Kristian Olson, MD MGH Medicine, who has created a low-cost, battery-free umbilical cord clamp, called the EveryBaby Clamp, which detects newborns’ heart rates and can rapidly determine if a newborn should be resuscitated by positive pressure ventilation.
  • Jay Austen, MD MGH Plastic Surgery, who has created a device that obtains more information and produces less disfigurement while taking biopsies of skin lesions.
  • Michael Mansour, MD, PhD MGH Personalized Medicine, who has devised a technology that produces and allows for the transfusion of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.