SOURCE: Institute for Pediatric Innovation

Institute for Pediatric Innovation

March 02, 2009 11:00 ET

Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI) Awarded Grant to Support Research in Children's Medicines With World Health Organization (WHO)

Project Supports WHO's "Make Medicines Child Size" Initiative

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - The Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI), Inc., a nonprofit focused on transforming unmet needs for pediatric care into product opportunities for industry, today announced that it has been awarded a $550,000 grant to support World Health Organization research in children's medicines, being conducted with Unicef. The goal of the research, which aligns directly with IPI's mission, is to increase the number of medicines designed and formulated specifically for children.

IPI will conduct an intensive investigation of preferred dosage forms with children, parents and healthcare providers in Tanzania and two other East African countries. This research will guide development of needed children's medicines, along with appropriate dosing guides, for chronic therapy of diseases such as tuberculosis.

"The WHO initiative addresses one of the core concerns that led to the founding of IPI," said Dr. Stephen P. Spielberg of IPI. "Beyond basic access, children need medications in dosage forms that they can easily consume, and in dosages that have been tested based on their size and weight. In addition, medicines used in the developing world need to be stable in difficult environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity, easily transported and low cost. In many cases, reformulating an existing medication with these factors in mind can make a tremendous difference in its efficacy for children."

This work supports the "make medicines child size" initiative, launched by WHO in December 2007. This campaign aims to raise awareness and accelerate action to address the need for improved availability and access to safe child-specific medicines for children under 15. According to a recent announcement by WHO providing additional details on this program, more than 50 percent of medicines prescribed for children have either not been developed specifically for children or have not been proven to be effective and safe for their use.

"Identifying dosage forms that are easy to use by healthcare providers and parents and palatable for children will go a long way to improving access to medicines for children," said Dr. Sue Hill, World Health Organization. "The work of IPI will provide valuable information for researchers and manufacturers in developing safe, effective dosage forms that are specifically designed and tested for children."

Background -- About the Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI)

The Institute for Pediatric Innovation, a nonprofit organization, was formed to foster innovation to improve pediatric care by stimulating development of appropriate medical devices and drugs designed specifically for babies and children. Working with a Consortium of Pediatric Hospitals, IPI strives to identify the most needed products. IPI organizes public, private, nonprofit and for-profit collaborations in product innovation and licenses the resulting products to companies for commercial development. IPI is led by an experienced team of experts in licensing technology in pediatric medical care, commercializing medical technology, and marketing medical devices and pharmaceutical products. To date, IPI has received support from its consortium members along with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Children's Medical Ventures, Inc., AGA Medical and Oxford Bioscience Partners.

Dr. Stephen P. Spielberg will serve as principal investigator for IPI, along with colleagues Dr. Lisa Adams, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School and the Dickey Center for International Understanding, and Dr. Sienna Craig, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College. Dr. Spielberg's team will collaborate with colleagues at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Dr. Spielberg leads IPI's Pediatric Pharmaceutical Reformulation Program, launched in January 2008 with the goal of tailoring existing pharmaceutical products for children's needs. Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Mo., a founding member of IPI's Consortium of Pediatric Hospitals, provided initial funding for the program.

IPI's Consortium of Pediatric Hospitals is helping to identify the medical products that are most needed to improve the care of children. Clinicians from the Consortium hospitals help to identify issues, set priorities, and specify and test products. In addition to Children's Mercy, founding members are University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Recently, two additional leading pediatric institutions -- Children's Hospital in Denver and Children's Hospital in Wisconsin -- joined the Consortium.

In addition to his work with IPI, Stephen Spielberg, MD, PhD, serves as Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine and Therapeutic Innovation at Children's Mercy. Dr. Spielberg also holds the Marion Merrell Dow Endowed Chair in Pediatric Pharmacogenetics and a professorial appointment at the UMKC School of Medicine. He served as Dean of Dartmouth Medical School from 2003 to 2007 and is one of the nation's best-known specialists in pediatric pharmacology.

Contact Information

  • Institute for Pediatric Innovation contact:
    Julia Ferrara
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