• By Brian Kilen

Mayo Clinic Cardiologist Wins GSK’s Discovery Fast Track Challenge to Investigate Anti-hypertensive Agents

December 1, 2014

John Burnett Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, has been selected as a winner of GSK’s 2014 Discovery Fast Track Challenge, which is designed to accelerate the translation of academic research into novel therapies. Dr. Burnett will work with scientists in GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) and the Molecular Discovery Research teams to test their hypotheses and screen targets against GSK’s compound collection.

John Burnett Jr., MD

John Burnett Jr., MD

Active compounds could then form the basis of full drug discovery programs that may ultimately lead to innovative medicines for anti-hypertensive agents.

Dr. Burnett submitted one of 14 winning proposals, chosen from 428 entries from 234 universities and academic institutes from across 26 countries. Research between Mayo Clinic and GSK will focus on treatments for resistant hypertension.

“We see this as a huge need, clinically, and we think our screen could lead to a breakthrough drug for the treatment of resistant hypertension, which is growing worldwide,” said Dr. Burnett.

“We believe there is a real advantage in bringing together the best in academia and industry to help take innovative ideas forward in drug discovery,” said Duncan Holmes, European Head of DPAc. “The Discovery Fast Track Challenge is designed to find the best ideas for collaborative drug discovery from any therapeutic area, in any geography. We look forward to working with each of the winners to help identify novel quality pharmacologically active compounds for their targets and being part of the researcher’s journey in making a difference."

Launched in the UK in late 2010, DPAc is a new approach to drug discovery that enables academics to marry their scientific excellence with the drug discovery insight of GSK. For Discovery Fast Track projects that progress to full DPAc programs, GSK and the academic collaborator share the challenges and rewards of innovation; GSK provides drug discovery expertise and in-kind resources as well as funding activities in the partner laboratories to progress a program from idea to candidate medicine. Currently GSK has 10 active DPAc collaborations in 10 disease areas.