Houston Methodist recently received a $21 million commitment – the largest nonestate pledge in its almost 100-year history – to speed up the development of new treatments and therapies for patients suffering from injury and illness.

The Houston Methodist Research Institute will use this gift from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation to support translational research, taking scientific discoveries quickly from the laboratory to the patient.

“We are honored by this unprecedented gift and are grateful for the generous, longtime support from the Katz family,” said Marc Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist. “The gift will provide significant resources to propel the rapid translation of medical discovery to transform patient care.”

The majority of the $21 million will establish the Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research, which will initially endow eight Katz Investigators. While most philanthropic support is directed to research in a specific field, this gift is unique in that researchers from any medical specialty are eligible to apply to become Katz Investigators and receive funding for their translational research projects.

“The gift was designed to continuously seed research and find better medications and treatments for patients,” said Evan H. Katz, one of Jerold B. Katz’s sons and a trustee of the Jerold B. Katz Foundation. “There is no better way to encourage successful innovation and discovery than to bring together the best of the best, from different fields, to think outside of the box and then together bring never-before considered solutions to bear on the most vexing diseases facing humankind.”

The Katz Foundation gift funds three areas of research:

  • $12 million – Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research, described above;
  • $4 million – Jerold B. Katz Translational Research Infrastructure Fund, an endowment to ensure that laboratories remain state of the art with highly specialized equipment available for research; and
  • $5 million – a matching fund to establish the Translational Research Initiative II.

The Translational Research Initiative II will help researchers avoid the “Valley of Death” – the time between a scientific discovery and its successful use in humans when many projects are lost due to a lack of funding. Houston Methodist will raise $5 million to match these funds, bringing the philanthropic impact of this donation up to $26 million.

“New medical therapies or drugs typically take two decades and billions of dollars to go from the research lab to the patient’s bedside,” said Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. “Our No. 1 focus is to get the most promising ideas to the clinic. This generous donation from the Katz Foundation can help speed the process and bring viable treatment options to patients across the spectrum of human health. Because of the way the Katz Foundation gift is structured, it also will stimulate a cross-pollination of ideas among clinicians and scientists to treat the world’s worst diseases and conditions.”

The Jerold B. Katz Foundation has provided millions in funding for medical research, particularly in brain injury, metabolic disorders, nursing and health care quality and outcomes research. This most recent contribution marks the pinnacle of the family’s giving to date, and will significantly advance new therapies and technologies with the most potential to transform lives.

 

Source: Houston Methodist