First funds offered from new science and technology development program
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 am ET, Wednesday, May 9, 2012
DALLAS, May 9, 2012 – The American Heart Association today announced the first recipient of funding through the Science & Technology Accelerator Program, the association’s newest initiative designed to speed the investigation and development of products or technology with the potential to help people with cardiovascular disease.
The Science & Technology Accelerator Program is meant to fill a crucial gap in research funding caused by the increasing hesitance of investors to risk support on early-stage innovations. It is funded solely through philanthropic contributions that are given directly to the program. Unlike research traditionally funded by the American Heart Association through grants, the Science & Technology Accelerator Program supports product development through investments or loans that can generate revenue. Any revenue generated will go back into the program to support more scientific development.
“The program’s goal is to infuse funding into promising innovations to forward their development to a point where traditional investors are willing to step in and carry them to the marketplace,” said Jim Weyhenmeyer, Ph.D., chair of the Science & Technology Accelerator committee and vice president of Research and Economic Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “It is integral to the American Heart Association’s mission to fight heart disease and stroke, and to reaching its strategic goal of significantly improving the country’s cardiovascular health by 2020.”
Innovations funded by the Science & Technology Accelerator program are carefully screened for their scientific importance and for their commercial viability, though their potential positive impact on health outcomes, rather than potential profit margin, is the key determining factor for the selection of any given investment.
“Mission will always trump margin,” said Ross Tonkens, M.D., director of the Science & Technology Accelerator. “This is a different way of funding, but it’s all about serving our lifesaving mission.” More about the program is at my.americanheart.org/accelerator.
The product receiving the first funds from the program is a blood test designed to assess blood vessel health in people who don’t have typical symptoms or signs of heart disease. The test is being developed by CytoVas, LLC, a new diagnostics company in Philadelphia.
Early studies on this test showed that its results reflect differences in blood vessel health in people with different stages and severity of cardiovascular disease. The next phase of development is called the proof-of-concept trial, which is where the Science & Technology Accelerator funds are invested. The proof-of-concept-trial is an early part of the lengthy process for moving a treatment, medication or innovation from development in the lab to availability on the market.
The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing any science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
CORP12 – 1002 (Accelerator)
For Media inquiries:
Maggie Francis: (214) 706-1382; Maggie.Francis@heart.org
Cathy Lewis : (214) 706-1324; Cathy.Lewis@heart.org
For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)