BLAVATNIK CENTER for Drug Discovery's Next Stage: Collaborating with Hospitals
The BLAVATNIK CENTER for Drug Discovery (BCDD) at Tel Aviv University is now moving to the next stage: collaborating with TAU-affiliated hospitals on research into new treatments. Ichilov is the first hospital to join forces with the Center, winning a joint NIS 2 million ($580K) state-funded grant for research into a healing drug for heart patients.
Launched in 2016, TAU's BLAVATNIK CENTER for Drug Discovery is the first of its kind at an Israeli university to equip, staff and operate a state-of-the-art core laboratory that serves dozens of drug research groups across the TAU campus – as well as from other Israeli research institutions – at a critical stage in their research. Offering the necessary equipment and expertise, the Center advances exciting lab breakthroughs to the stage where they are ripe for clinical application and commercialization.
Thousands of projects conducted at labs across the world are seeking out therapeutic compounds that could prevent, treat or even cure a range of devastating diseases. However, many potentially effective drugs never see the light of day due to the complexity and expensive costs of the early-stage drug development process.
This is where the BLAVATNIK CENTER enters the picture. Since its launch nearly four years ago, the Center has proven its potential to significantly enhance biomedical innovation in Israel – both in academia and industry. The next step forward is collaborating with hospitals on drug research.
Healing damaged hearts
The new BCDD-Ichilov grant was awarded by the Israel Innovation Authority's Kamin Program, which advances a range of technologies from research institutions across the country toward the stage of commercially viable products and services.
Researchers at the BLAVATNIK CENTER for Drug Discovery laboratory. Photo: Jonathan Bloom
The Kamin grant will support research of a drug jointly developed by the BLAVATNIK CENTER and Ichilov Hospital aimed at healing patients who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction). During a heart attack, the blood supply to the heart muscle is blocked, causing damage to the organ and leaving it with scar tissue. This in turn harms the future functioning of the heart over the long run.
The medicine discovered by BCDD and Ichilov Hospital will enhance cardiac tissue recovery after injury. It will minimize scar tissue in the heart and therefore reduce the damage to its future functioning. The drug will effectively and quickly help patients recover and could greatly benefit Israel's healthcare system.
The TAU part in the project is to provide the R&D services at the early stages of drug development.
There are 32 more such drug development projects run by the BLAVATNIK CENTER at different stages, but the heart attack medicine is its flagship program.