Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

BioMotiv Blog

A Novel Approach to Crossing the Valley of Death


By: Erin Reese

Over the last decade, we have seen a growing issue in biotech.  Despite record levels of biotech venture funding, few dollars are available to support the translation of academic discoveries into the beginnings of medicine. Those of us in the field are all too familiar with this decline, which many attribute to a phenomenon called the valley of death — the resource gap that prevents technologies from becoming medicines, leaving many promising discoveries stranded in academic labs and publications.

But, what if there was a way to provide scientists with the funding and support they need to give their promising discoveries a chance at crossing the chasm from bench to bedside?

In 2012, the Harrington family put this idea to the test by providing a $50 million gift to University Hospitals of Cleveland to establish The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development – a new and powerful model that takes a different approach to traversing the biotech valley of death.

Today, The Harrington Project is a $340 million initiative that accelerates breakthrough discoveries from scientists into medicines for patients. The Harrington Project supports therapeutic breakthroughs across the US and the UK through three mission-driven elements:

The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio: a non-profit initiative that enables scientists to transform their extensive, cross-cutting knowledge derived from real-life practice and research into therapies that improve patients’ lives significantly more than the current standard of care. Through annual competitions, the Harrington Discovery Institute selects a group of scholars whose projects are grant-funded for advancing their discoveries. It is led by Dr. Jonathan Stamler and guided by a renowned advisory board.

The Innovation Support Center within the Harrington Discovery Institute: the Innovation Support Center provides mentorship, resource connections, and business support to assist physician-scientists. Experienced industry professionals provide guidance to advance discoveries towards commercialization.

BioMotiv: a mission-aligned, for-profit accelerator designed to accelerate breakthrough discoveries into medicines through an innovative business model. You can read more about us here.

Since its inception in 2012, The Harrington Project has supported more than 100 scientists who have now launched more than 20 companies and licensed five technologies to pharmaceutical companies.

Stay tuned over the coming months as we take a deeper dive into the Harrington Project’s individual groups. In the meantime, you can learn more here.