Background and purpose

Q-FASTR, the Quadrangle Fund for Advancing and Seeding Translational Research at Harvard Medical School, identifies, supports, and expedites early-stage research with eventual commercialization potential. A significant obstacle to the development of early-stage discoveries is the lack of funding for risky and novel research and for the basic or translational studies needed to demonstrate the innovation’s potential or proof-of-concept (POC). Q-FASTR provides funding and other support to help HMS Quad faculty identify promising nascent technologies within their labs and develop these technologies to a stage where they are attractive to other funding sources such as public or private agencies, other institutional sources, or potentially industry.

Q-FASTR: Addressing the Funding Gap

The relative positioning of Q-FASTR projects in the basic to translational research funding pipeline. Q-FASTR is intended to bridge the funding gap identified on the chart.

Established in 2014 thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor, Q-FASTR aims to accelerate early-stage research that has the potential to lead to commercialization and, ultimately, improve people’s health. The initial gift was matched by a gift from the Warren Alpert Foundation as well as a gift from longtime HMS supporters and leadership volunteers Barbara and Louis Perlmutter, who are specifically supporting novel research on Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease that is conducted on the HMS Quadrangle and involves collaboration across the Greater Harvard community and beyond.

The sweet spots for this seed funding are research projects that fall in the post-discovery, pre-proof-of-concept, pre-commercial development gap that have the potential to become attractive opportunities for collaboration with industry or the venture community, or that are deemed strong candidates for licensing.