CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Laura Brod Hameed is the new executive director of the Columbus Children's Foundation, one of the country's only non-profit organizations with a specific focus on accelerating access to affordable and effective gene therapy treatments for children with ultra-rare genetic diseases. A non-profit model, such as the Columbus Children's Foundation, bridges the innovation gap to change the treatment landscape to ensure no child with these ultra-rare diseases is left behind.
The Foundation identifies promising research focused on genetic diseases, chiefly muscular or neurodegenerative disorders affecting children, and offers access to its network of scientific experts, breakthrough technology and manufacturing resources. This accelerates the development and advancement of treatments for patients with these ultra-rare conditions while also lowering costs for life-changing therapies.
"When looking for someone to lead this important mission, we were impressed by Laura's unique combination of experience and proven leadership spanning the private, public and nonprofit sectors, as well as her extensive experience building strategic partnerships in the bioscience industry," said R. Jude Samulski, PhD, the Foundation's chair.
Ms. Hameed brings two decades of experience in bioscience, non-profit, higher education and state government to her new role. Most recently, Ms. Hameed served as Chief Executive Officer of RoverMed BioSciences. Prior to joining RoverMed, Ms. Hameed was Chief Executive Officer of GeneSegues Therapeutics.
Dr. Samulski noted that most of the conditions of interest to the Foundation, often called "ultra-orphan diseases," affect patient populations that are too small to be of interest to many large drug companies.
"I see the amazing potential of gene therapy," Ms. Hameed said. "It pains me to know that thousands of children all over the world are suffering from these horrible genetic diseases when potential cures are within reach."
Ms. Hameed continued. "I am eager to get to work with the Foundation to seek the partnerships, funding and access to the latest technology and manufacturing processes that are needed to transform the lives of children with ultra-rare diseases."
The Foundation also provides direct financial support to patients and their families, paying for transportation, lodging and other expenses when travel to clinical trials or treatment centers is required.
Dr. Samulski continued. "We're confident that Laura's insight, partnership building expertise, and extensive global network combined with the Foundation's resources will help us secure the support we depend upon to help patients who are affected by these devastating conditions."
In addition to her bioscience experience, Ms. Hameed served as an elected member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents for six years and was a member of the Minnesota State House of Representatives for eight years. She is an Aspen-Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute and serves on the boards of Givvor, a cloud-based platform creating community around on-line giving, and Drake Bank, a bank specializing in small business lending.
About The Columbus Children's Foundation
Founded in 2017, the Columbus Children's Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit in Chapel Hill, N.C. Its mission is to help children diagnosed with ultra-rare monogenic, neurodegenerative diseases. Columbus Children's Foundation is focused on ultra-rare disease that have extremely small populations. Because the pharmaceutical industry tends to focus on more common illnesses with greater commercial potential, orphan diseases are often overlooked, prompting the need for funding from outside the industry. The Columbus Children's Foundation also helps ensure that children with such disorders can participate in clinical trials or receive therapy if their families can't afford travel and related costs. For more information, visit the Foundation's website or call (919) 726-8040.
SOURCE Columbus Children's Foundation