Driving translational science, a conversation with Dennis Liotta
How changing the model for science funding to include investing in development could speed biomedical progress
Dennis Liotta has developed a model for efficiently turning academic scientific discoveries into medicines — and he thinks it can be replicated. The key to bridging the “valley of death” between academic discovery and translational proof of concept, Liotta believes, is providing academic research groups funding and training that allows them to move beyond discovery and into drug development.
Working with biopharma veteran George Painter, Liotta founded two organizations at Emory University that work together closely, Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE) and the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD). Liotta is founder and advisory committee chair of EIDD and founder and adviser of DRIVE; Painter is CEO of the organizations. Their accomplishments include the discovery and development of two drugs that are part of the backbone for HIV treatment and prophylaxis, as well as Lagevrio molnupiravir, which was licensed to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics L.P. in 2020 and received an FDA emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 in December 2021. ...