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Jefferson Partners on Small Business Innovation Grant for New Drug to Treat Lung Fibrosis


Ross Summer, PhD, developing new therapy for lung fibrosis

Ross Summer, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)

PHILADELPHIA – An innovative governmental grant intended to spur the translation of laboratory discoveries into new treatments for patients called the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant has been awarded to Jefferson physician–researcher Ross Summer and collaboration partner Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. (FCCDC) for the co-development of a novel, first-in-class treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

IPF is a severe, progressive lung disease that affects 130,000 individuals in the United States alone. IPF causes relentlessly progressive respiratory limitations for patients characterized by permanent scarring of lung tissue. To date, pharmacologic interventions for IPF have offered little help and at present, lung transplantation remains the sole viable treatment option for the few who qualify.

"Research in my laboratory aims to find better options for my patients with this disease," said Ross Summer, MD, a physician-researcher in the Jane and Leonard Korman Respiratory Institute – Jefferson Health and National Jewish Health. Rose Ritts, PhD, the Executive Vice President of Innovation at Jefferson lauds the FCCDC and Jefferson team for their work in securing this funding. “It is universally appreciated that fibrotic lung diseases such as IPF constitute a world-wide major health problem. Jefferson is proud to partner with the excellent team of scientists at FCCDC to pursue development of this potentially lifesaving technology,” she said.

“Our team at FCCDC consisting of grant Principal Investigator Dr. Jay Wrobel and others are very excited to work on this project because of the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Summer at Jefferson, and the application of an innovative soft drug approach for the treatment of IPF.” said Allen B. Reitz, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of FCCDC.

Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. partners with universities, non-profit research organizations and foundations to provide medicinal chemistry, target validation, in vitro pharmacology, and chemical biology support for investigators working on novel targets. The goal of the FCCDC is to transition innovative biomedical research technologies into full-fledged drug discovery and development programs of study.

The SBIR award was issued by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, is entitled "Soft LXR Agonists for the Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis" (1R43HL140712-01A1) and has a start date is Sept. 1, 2018.

Media Contact:
Edyta Zielinska