Two HSCI scientists awarded Massachusetts Life Sciences Center grants to research novel therapeutics

July 15, 2013

HSCI Co-Director David Scadden, MD, and Affiliated Faculty member Xi He, PhD, have each won two-year, half-million dollar competitive grants – and industry sponsorship, from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which oversees the state’s $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative.

The two HSCI scientists were two of the four finalist groups in the third round of MLSC’s Cooperative Research Matching Grant Program, which received twenty-one applications. The competition included several rounds of peer review and a vote of the MLSC Board of Directors. The program is designed to promote industry-academic research collaborations, support translational research, and accelerate the commercialization of promising products and services.

“An important element of HSCI’s mission is to accelerate the transition of basic science out of the academic lab and into the market so that we can ultimately reach patients,” says HSCI Executive Director Brock Reeve. “We are glad that the MLSC values critical biopharmaceutical partnerships and, with this award, recognizes the potential of these projects.”

GlaxoSmithKline is partnering with David Scadden, whose laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital will be testing the ability of a new therapy, used with another drug already on the market, to reduce the toxic complications from bone marrow transplants. The treatment works by increasing natural stem cell and red blood cell re-population after bone marrow donations, potentially making transplantation available to a wider group of patients.

Pfizer is working with Xi He of Children’s Hospital Boston, who is exploring the modification of molecular pathways in bone growth to identify new treatments that could possibly reverse osteoporosis.