Sanford Burnham Picks 5 Collaborators To Advance Drug Discoveries


With a focus on cancer, diabetes and obesity, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona has picked the first five research groups that it will collaborate with to advance drug discoveries. The scientific teams will be part of the Florida Translational Research Program.

Selected groups come from the University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, Scripps Florida and Sanford-Burnham.

“We fielded approximately 50 inquiries for five project slots,” said Layton Smith, director of Drug Discovery Florida at Sanford-Burnham. Projects were selected based on scientific merit, technical feasibility and potential for commercialization.

Work on the first collaboration began in February, and all projects should be complete by the end of the year, he said. Three projects focus on discovering new treatments for cancer and other tumors. The other two represent steps toward new medicines to treat diabetes and obesity.

The Florida Department of Health and Sanford-Burnham established the translational research initiative as a competitive grant program to fund collaborative drug discovery projects. The program’s goal is to translate research discoveries made in Florida laboratories into the medicines of tomorrow.

Youfit Health Club opens its first Orlando gym

Rick Berks, founder of the national chain of Youfit Health Clubs, has opened his first of what he hopes will be many clubs in Central Florida.

His first club opened last month in Winter Park, at 7706 N. University Blvd. The Florida native already has 36 health clubs in Florida and 53 nationwide. He is scouting other locations in the Orlando area.

Unlike traditional health clubs, Berks’ clubs don’t require participants to sign long-term contracts. Rather they pay monthly. And there is no pressure to join.

“There are no salespeople. No intimidating bodybuilders or gym rats. No singles scenes. No pushy instructors,” said spokesman Steve Winston.

“Many people tell me they have to get in shape before they’ll walk into a club,” Berks says. “But we’re building clubs for people who want to work out in a relaxed, non-threatening environment, without the trauma and drama of the usual health club.”

Hence his philosophy: to build clubs where “you” will “fit” right in.

“We’re looking to create new business here in Central Florida, and to create them in an environmentally friendly way,” said Berks. The clubs’ floors are made of recycled Nike sneakers.

American Health Alliance picked as Medicare ACO

American Health Alliance has been selected by Medicare as one of the nation’s 106 new Accountable Care Organizations, announced Dr. Jay Panchal, alliance CEO. The physician group serves more than 6,000 Medicare patients in Ocala and the Villages.

The newly formed alliance includes 12 local primary-care and family-medicine practices, which have joined to better serve patients across the health-care continuum, said Panchal.

Accountable Care Organizations are one of the byproducts of the health-care overhaul. They are designed to help patients, particularly those with chronic illnesses, by sharing their records and results among providers, to avoid duplication of services and provide hospital-to-home care coordination. Ideally, such programs will result in savings and better outcomes.



Tags: , ,