Mitchell Horowitz, Joseph Simkins, David A. Pearce

Horowitz et al., J Clin Transl Res 2019; 5(2): 4

Published online: January 28, 2020


Medical innovation awards stand out as an important means to focus public attention on what matters in medical advancement. Traditional awards typically focus on celebrating medical innovators with either a track record of proven successes in new treatments or promising basic science breakthroughs still years away from reaching patients. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for medical innovation that is not sufficiently addressed by these traditional awards is celebrating translational research efforts on the cusp of major advancements where medical innovators are demonstrating success in bringing emerging transformative medical innovations to patients. As a part of its award process, the Sanford Lorraine Cross Award has developed a unique method to fill this gap in the landscape of medical innovation awards for ongoing translational research efforts by identifying promising medical innovations within a narrow spectrum of the research pipeline on the verge of having transformative impact for patients in the near term. The Sanford Lorraine Cross Award addresses the challenges of identifying emerging transformative medical innovations making their way through development by deploying a rigorous, analytically-based “early signals analysis” to identify emerging transformative medical innovations in its selection process independent of the medical innovators who are succeeding in bringing them forward. It also stands apart from traditional medical innovation awards in focusing on identifying award candidates that have significant roles in bringing the emerging transformative medical innovation across the finish line to patients, and their efforts in overcoming challenges, forging collaborations and ensuring a successful outcome. The data-driven award selection process used for the Lorraine Cross award ultimately inverts the standard medical award selection paradigm – truly innovative areas of discovery and breakthrough science are identified independently of candidates and used to then focus candidate selection on the areas with the most promising transformative potential for patients. This article sets out the details of how the Sanford Award makes use of leading tools and methods in identifying transformative innovations currently in translational research to provide another important focus of what matters in medical innovation.
Relevance for patients: The Sanford Lorraine Cross Award identifies the most successful application of translational research that ultimately expedited development of a treatment or cure of a disease.



Author affiliation

1 TEConomy Partners, LLC, Bethesda, Maryland, United States 
2 TEConomy Partners, LLC, Dublin, Ohio, United States 
3 Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States
4 Pediatrics and Rare Diseases Group, Sanford Research, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States 
5 Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States

*Corresponding author
David A. Pearce, PhD Sanford Health 2301 E. 60th St. North Sioux Falls, SD 57104, United States
Tel: +1 (605) 312-6004

Handling editor:

Michal Heger
Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department of Pharmaceutics, Jiaxing University Medical College, Zhejiang, China


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