Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery added to Discovery Vanderbilt portfolio; philanthropic matching launched

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Enhancing its commitment to translational neuroscience research, Vanderbilt University has announced the integration of the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery into Discovery Vanderbilt—an initiative by the Office of the Provost that shares a name with one of the three pathways of the university’s Dare to Grow campaign.

“It’s so exciting to add the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery into our Discovery Vanderbilt network of powerhouse research centers and institutes,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver said. “This underscores our steadfast commitment to pathbreaking advances in our understanding of brain and behavior, and it paves the way for translational solutions to neurodegenerative diseases that affect the lives of millions of Americans.”

The Warren Center aims to translate advances in basic science to novel therapeutics by “de-risking” innovative approaches for the treatment of serious brain disorders. De-risking involves contributing as much fundamental knowledge about a compound as possible during early stages of research to ensure that later development stages are fruitful.

As a clinical-stage biotech enterprise within Vanderbilt, the Warren Center has 25 research projects in the drug discovery pipeline, and it currently has three compounds in phase one clinical trials. The pace and quantity of clinical assets delivered by the Warren Center is unmatched among academic drug discovery entities, according to Craig Lindsley, executive director of the WCNDD.

In early 2020, The William K. Warren Foundation made a gift to provide an endowment for the center. Today, under the leadership of Lindsley, this collaborative endeavor unites approximately 100 distinguished scientists with wide-ranging expertise dedicated to advancing research into treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

To support this life-changing research, the university unveiled a corresponding one-to-one match for gifts to the Warren Center, an initiative within the Dare to Grow campaign. University matching, for qualifying gifts, will run from Dec. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2024, or until the $2.5 million in match dollars are fulfilled. This effort, which is made possible by significant investments from the offices of Vanderbilt’s chancellor and provost, offers an opportunity for donors to see their contribution doubled, shaping the future of neuroscience research and helping millions of patients as well as their caretakers and loved ones around the world.

“Without philanthropic support of our de-risking efforts, our three novel clinical assets would not have reached human testing. Developing innovative approaches to address humanity’s most serious and untreated brain disorders requires de-risking exercises at every stage, and these high-risk exercises yield significant clinical advances,” said Lindsley, also a University Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Chemistry, who holds the William K. Warren, Jr. Chair in Medicine. “All support of the WCNDD goes directly to driving the science behind the next generation of treatments for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression and other poorly managed brain diseases. This match will help patients and families experience a higher quality of life. Our programs are aimed at not only providing symptomatic treatment, but also addressing disease modification.”

Eligible match gifts include commitments totaling $100,000 or more, which can support existing or new endowed funds. This invitation extends to individuals, foundations, corporations and families interested in supporting cutting-edge neuroscience research. More information about the match, and how to make a qualifying gift, is available here.

“The robust pipeline that exists within the Warren Center exemplifies how a biotech enterprise situated in an academic setting can be a very effective drug discovery engine,” said John Kuriyan, dean of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences. “Critical to the success of this enterprise is the support of the extensive community of people who wish to support neuroscience drug discovery through their philanthropy.”

Support will drive vital research within Vanderbilt’s laboratories and have a lasting influence on prevalent brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, depression, dystonia and autism.