From the very beginning, The William K. Warren Foundation has been advancing science toward better diagnoses, treatments, and cures of the diseases that afflict mankind. Over the last 15 years, the global drive toward reducing human suffering through the development of novel therapeutics has been challenged. The reasons are complex but at its core, the problem is economics and non-profit organizations are being called to fill the void. As significant advances in science are needed, The William K. Warren Foundation has recognized a niche, particularly in central nervous system diseases. Today, the Foundation continues to leverage local resources and make enduring contributions to medical research to improve lives, reduce societal costs, and relieve human suffering.
“Tremendous suffering demands tremendous
effort and investment toward cures.”
- W. K. Warren, Jr.
*Food and Drug Administration, 2013, 2010
The treatment of mental illness has not changed very much in the last several decades. The clinicians are still relying on the self-reported symptoms of the patients, and the treatment for those patients have a trial-and-error sensibility. Quality treatment measures are elusive relative to other diseases. Similarly discouraging, six major pharmaceutical companies have pulled out of central nervous system and mental illness research over the last four years.*
In 2007, The William K. Warren Foundation created LIBR in Tulsa as a long-term endeavor to generate solutions to some of the human body’s most vexing problems…problems that are, today, called “mental illness,” will, in the future, be solutions called “mental health” or “wellness.” In the meantime, research is needed to bridge the gap between problems and solutions. LIBR is achieving the benchmarks of a successful research institute and is dedicated to taking the scientific ideas from hypothesis to the clinical bedside.
*Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca,
Pfizer, Merck, and Sanoh
(International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2012)
As the need for more patient money has increased, so have the roles of philanthropy and academia
Economic pressures have forced pharmaceutical companies to become more risk averse when it comes to novel drug development. This risk aversion has resulted in novel drugs remaining in the hands of academia and scientists for much longer in the development continuum than in previous times. Since the diseases are not going away, this has increased the need for the more patient type of money provided by philanthropy, academia, and governments.
The William K. Warren Foundation has faced this need by forming a major partnership with University of Notre Dame to form The Warren Family Center for Drug Discovery and Development in South Bend, Indiana. It is intended that the WFCDDD becomes the innovation engine that drives the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for stroke, cancer, neuro-degenerative, and infectious diseases, as well as a number of rare and neglected diseases.
The economics changing the pharmaceutical industry are affecting progress in the treatment of every disease. The cascade of this change impacts the entire research continuum. Scientists and academicians need more patient sources of funding to continue their efforts toward breakthroughs.
The William K. Warren Foundation’s interest in cancer research breakthroughs goes back many decades. In the example of The William K. Warren Medical Research Center, the Foundation’s cancer research work goes back to 1985. Collaboration with a major university, talented investigators and scientists, and significant patience are beginning to yield results. Patient money like the Foundation’s is what it takes to fill the pharmaceutical company voids to drive the breakthroughs needed in cancer.