PITCH (Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health), is supported by a three-year, $10 million investment by BioInnovation Connecticut, and helps innovators speed bioscience discoveries toward commercialization.Current UConn MCB PITCH projects include the following:
Dr. James Cole is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Department of Chemistry at UConn. With 12 years of research funded by the National Institutes of Health dedicated to elucidating the mechanism of activation of the antiviral protein kinase R (PKR), along with 10 years of experience in antiviral drug discovery at Merck Research Laboratories, Dr. Cole is carrying out high-throughput screening for novel PKR activators. These molecules will serve as drug leads to combat globally important viral diseases that currently lack effective treatments, such as Influenza, Ebola and Dengue.
Dr. Michael Lynes is Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UConn. Through his global research collaborations and his work at UConn, Dr. Lynes’ research has had a significant impact on our understanding of the genetic, biochemical and cellular processes involved in immune regulation including the role of environmental toxicants as well as the stress protein metallothionein. This has resulted in the discovery of a new therapeutic antibody for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a group of severe and debilitating immunological diseases affecting more 1 million people in the U.S and 2.5 million in Europe. Direct IBD treatment costs and the associated disability-related costs are in the billions of dollars annually. The PITCH program will allow Dr. Lynes and his collaborators at the University of Gent IBD Research Unit to investigate this new therapeutic, and the potential to provide a new, safer and more effective therapeutic intervention for patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases such as IBD.