Emory University and The Morningside Foundation promote innovative, affordable health care treatments

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Oct. 31, 2019

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Susan Chana
404-727-4719
susan.chana@emory.edu

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Atlanta — Emory University and The Morningside Foundation are joining forces to create the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine, which will promote research on scientifically promising, readily available and cost-effective treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Through a groundbreaking $10 million investment, the recently established Center for Affordable Medical Innovation, based within the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, will be renamed the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine. This effort builds on an initial and continuing investment from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation through the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

“Medical innovation is typically driven by potential profit,” says Claire E. Sterk, president of Emory University. “Inexpensive treatment initiatives often remain unexplored when financial incentives do not sufficiently offset the research investment needed to bring them to market. The Morningside Foundation’s investment in Emory will help reverse this trend to benefit patients here and abroad. Interdisciplinary at its core, the center will bring together faculty and students from multiple units across Emory in research, education and advocacy efforts. We are indebted to The Morningside Foundation for their wonderful  generosity.” 

The Morningside Center’s focus will eventually expand beyond cancer and into diagnostics, devices and health care delivery systems — all with a focus on affordability. Early goals of the center include: 

  • Developing a database of opportunities searchable by disease, drug or mechanism of action
  • Establishing a scientific framework for prioritizing ideas 
  • Conducting critical preclinical studies to set the stage for clinical trials
  • Designing and conducting clinical trials to validate ideas 
  • Developing novel approaches to clinical studies 

“The Morningside Center represents a unique initiative because of its dual focus on innovation and affordability,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, Emory’s executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “In addition to its focus on research, the center’s emphasis on education and advocacy for effective and affordable medical treatment will provide learning opportunities for health care professionals at all levels. Under Dr. Sukhatme’s leadership, this interdisciplinary center will thrive and address an important and unmet need.”

Vikas P. Sukhatme, dean of Emory’s School of Medicine, will serve as the founding director of the Morningside Center. “We are extremely grateful for The Morningside Foundation’s commitment to advance innovation in medicine and patient care,” Sukhatme says. “The investment the foundation has made will enable us to focus initially on drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration that could be repurposed for cancer and other conditions. Because many of these drugs are affordable, we anticipate that results from these studies will have rapid and global impact.” 

Peter Stuart Allenby Edwards, director of The Morningside Foundation, underscores the alignment between the School of Medicine and the foundation’s emphasis on entrepreneurship and social responsibility. “The Morningside Center will draw attention to the untapped potential for new indications of already marketed drugs,” he notes. “Novel treatments with wide impact are likely to emerge in the near-term. We eagerly look forward to working with Dr. Sukhatme and his team.”


Emory University School of Medicine

The Emory University School of Medicine is a leading institution with the highest standards in education, biomedical research and patient care. It is committed to recruiting and developing a diverse group of students and innovative leaders in biomedical science, public health, medical education and clinical care. The school fosters a culture that integrates leading-edge basic, translational and clinical research to deliver quality health care, predict illness and treat the sick, and promote the health of our patients and community.

The Morningside Foundation

The Morningside Group was founded in 1986, by the Chan family of Hong Kong, to make private-equity and venture-capital investments. The group is managed by investment professionals who are entrepreneurial, have deep industry knowledge and are effective in the local environment in which they operate. In addition to its investment activities, Morningside Group is strongly committed to social responsibility. The Morningside Foundation is the charitable arm of the Morningside Group.