HiTS – System Pharmacology Lab
In 2014 the Foundation decided to provide the seed capital to launch an extremely innovative research program at HMS, the Harvard Program of Therapeutic Science, that is rethinking the basic and clinical science needed to discover, develop and deliver better drugs. Investigators from Harvard Medical School and its affiliated hospitals are working with Tufts, MIT and others to understand how drugs work in the body by combining cutting-edge experimental approaches with computational modeling and advanced analytics.
In particular, the Foundation is funding the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology (LSP) led by Prof. Peter K. Sorger, a – multi-disciplinary effort within HiTS to reinvent the fundamental science underlying the development of new medicines and their use in individual patients. In fact, not only is this an area of great financial need, but it represents an area of great promise as we look to the future of research.
The LSP brings together investigators in mathematical and experimental disciplines from multiple academic institutions (Harvard, MIT, Tufts) and research hospitals (Dana Farber, MGH, BWH) and eventually visiting scientists from the FDA and local drug companies, to integrate computational and systems approaches into all phases of drug discovery and development.
Furthermore, there is a likelihood that LSP could lead to collaboration with cancer centers in Italy. Professor Peter Sorger is in the process of identifying leading researchers in Italy for potential partnership. Possibilities include several scientists at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan and at the Centre for Computational and Systems Biology/Microsoft Research at the University of Trento. Therefore, this investment is also in line with our strong desire to advance science in Italy and to foster collaboration between the two countries.
The Foundation has contributed USD 4 M to date (but potentially committed up to USD 10 M over five years). Thanks to this seed funding, the LSP has been able to secure over USD 85 M additional funds, both from Federal agencies and the private sector. For more information on the LSP also see the reports below.