New Vice President Will Oversee Funding to Help Combat Cardiovascular, Central Nervous System, and Pediatric Rare Diseases
New York, NY – RTW Charitable Foundation (RTWCF), founded in 2018 to help people lead healthier, longer lives, announced that Dr. Deborah Slipetz has taken the helm as the new vice president. The announcement comes day before Rare Disease Day on February 28, when RTWCF will launch two grant cycles.
In 2021, research projects focusing on cardiovascular, central nervous system, or pediatric rare diseases in need of funding support are welcome to apply. Proposals could support several elements in basic biology, discovery, translational or clinical studies. The cycle closes on April 15th, with grants awarded between June 15th – 30th, 2021.
Prior to RTWCF, Slipetz was at Merck and has over three decades of experience in pharmaceutical development and research. She joins RTWCF at a time when it is renewing its focus on rare disease research after an initial grant cycle targeting COVID-19 relief efforts in New York City. RTWCF is the charitable arm of RTW Investments, LP and represents an extension of its mission to identify unmet needs and impact research and patients directly.
The Foundation seeks to combat rare diseases globally by supporting research that moves science forward to have a transformative effect on patients ’lives. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are approximately 7,000 rare diseases, many of them severe, affecting between 25 and 30 million, or one in 10, Americans.
Drug development research for rare diseases often lacks the funding needed to learn if a treatment is safe and effective, and some conditions are so rare that no profit model exists to bring them to market. RTWCF believes that a lack of profit should not stand in the way of developing promising treatments that can save and improve lives.
“Deborah is well known for not only her scientific acumen, but also her distinct ability to foster collaboration and creativity in innovative ways,” said Stephanie Sirota, RTW’s Chief Business Officer. “These are precisely the skills we need to advance the mission of RTW Charitable Foundation, which uses collaborative problem solving as a vehicle to drive scientific advancements in the service of humanitarian goals. We are excited to have Deborah join us and know that with her leadership, we will be able to make great strides in improving the lives of those living with rare diseases.”
“I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work for the RTW Charitable Foundation. I have a unique opportunity to take my drug development experience and passion for innovation to focus on funding cutting edge research for rare diseases. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running and serving the patients and communities who are at the heart of our mission at RTW Charitable Foundation,” said Deborah Slipetz.
Slipetz most recently co-founded and served as the executive director of imagine@Merck, a platform for employees to communicate and collaborate to drive change and identify solutions to pressing issues not only in drug development, but enterprise-wide. Her team was recognized by “Fast Company” in 2020 as one of the most “Innovative Teams”. Prior to that position she served as the executive director of digital analytics and technologies; executive director, in-vivo pharmacology; executive director of respiratory and immunology and multiple other leadership roles within the organization. She was nominated to the CEO’s emerging leader’s program and has been the recipient of many internal awards.
Slipetz is a key contributor on the team that discovered and developed Singulair TM, at the time, the first novel oral treatment for asthma in the previous 30 years. She has brought more than 25 programs into clinical development and is the co-author of 40 scientific peer-reviewed publications and co-inventor on 6 patents.
About RTW Charitable Foundation
Founded in 2018 as the charitable foundation arm of RTW Investments, LP, RTW Charitable Foundation works to improve opportunities for all people to live healthier, longer lives, and was created at the intersection of scientific advancements and humanitarian efforts. The Foundation funds disease research, patient support, education and advocacy efforts to alleviate human suffering. To learn more, visit https://www.rtwfunds.com/foundation/. For grant applications please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.