Nonprofit shells out $5.7M for research on single ventricle heart defects

Palo Alto, Calif.-based nonprofit Additional Ventures announced Jan. 21 it would be awarding a total of $5.7 million to five institutions for research on single ventricle heart defects (SVDs).

According to a release from Additional Ventures, which supports research and clinical care for children born with congenital heart defects, the five institutions will work together to share knowledge, but will manage their funds independently.

“Our goal is to provide a platform for scientists and clinicians to test bold, transformative ideas, and then the space to come together and share their learnings,” Kristie Keller, PhD, director of scientific programs at Additional Ventures, said in the company’s statement. “By attracting these world-class experts and incentivizing risk-taking, we believe we can make a significant impact for these kids in a short amount of time.”

SVDs are rare—there are only about 5 cases per 100,000 newborns born each year—but they’re incurable, and both challenging and costly to treat. According to Additional Ventures, the following five institutions will focus on developing “functional cures” for SVDs:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University
  • Gladstone Institutes
  • The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Stanford University School of Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

The group of researchers will reportedly convene later this year to share their research findings and data.

“No one lab can overcome the complex challenges of SVDs alone,” Keller said. “These five Innovation Funds will provide a network of labs to collectively tackle these challenges. With rapid advances in areas like genomics, single-cell technologies and tissue engineering, now is the time to coordinate efforts to accelerate progress.”

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