Vanderbilt University Secures $20m from William K. Warren Foundation to Further Treatments for Brain Disorders

Vanderbilt University Secures $20m from William K. Warren Foundation to Further Treatments for Brain Disorders

Vanderbilt University received $20 million from the William K Warren Foundation located in Tulsa, Oklahoma to establish the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. This adds to the Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, led by co-directors Craig Lindsley and Jefferey Conn, which currently includes 100 renowned scientists with a diverse set of interests and skills working to translate essential research ideas into viable new drug treatments that prevent serious brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease.

VU319 Enters Clinical Trials

VU319, developed by Vanderbilt researchers and sponsored by the Warren Foundation, may help some day to slow down memory loss accompanying various cognitive diseases. This promising compound recently went into human Phase-I FDA clinical trials, a significant accomplishment from an academic research enter. This year, Vanderbilt commences a study for use of VU319 in a safety study to ascertain pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data and test cognitive enhancement in healthy volunteers. Paul A. Newhouse is the Principal Investigator.

What is the Warren Foundation?

First, a little about the name Warren. Based on William K. Warren, who was the founder of the Warren Petroleum Corporation in Delaware in 1922. Mr. Warren and his company became specialists in the production and marketing of liquefied petroleum gas, a byproduct of petroleum refining and natural gas purification. Mr. Warren sold his company to Gulf Oil Corporation in 1953 for $450 million. After this deal, Mr. Warren turned his attention to philanthropy and established the Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, OK. Hence the founding of the William K. Warren Foundation by 1945 along with his wife. Warren graduated from Vanderbilt in 1920, hence the connection to the university. 

Fast forward to today, John-Kelly Warren, CEO of the Warren Foundation and grandson of the founders noted, “We have been impressed with the creative approaches and hard work demonstrated by Vanderbilt researchers, especially Craig and Jeff, in the Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. The CEO of the foundation continued, “Supporting novel, research-based methods to combat devastating cognitive impairments and mental illnesses lies at the heart of our foundation’s mission. It is also gratifying to support the research at Vanderbilt University, an institution that has made signifying impact on the lives of so many, including my family.”

Longstanding Supporters

The Warren Foundation, in addition to this latest commitment, has been a longstanding supporter of the university and its Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. Currently, the university has seven endowed faculty chairs supported by the foundation: they range in disciplines from medicine and pediatrics to divinity and undergraduate studies.