Dept. of Defense names WRAIR scientist "Lab Scientist of the Quarter"
The Department of Defense selected an Army researcher, Dr. Richard Sciotti from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), as Laboratory Scientist of the Quarter for 1st Quarter Fiscal Year 2018.
Dr. Sciotti entered government service at WRAIR in 2009 because he felt the call to duty for our nation - to utilize his expertise to serve his country. Bringing 13 years of experience as a medicinal chemist with Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories, Dr. Sciotti transformed and streamlined the drug discovery pipeline for Experimental Therapeutics, a research component at WRAIR. He advocated for, developed and implemented a gated-tier testing strategy that allowed drug candidates to be cost effectively advanced by data-driven consensus.
"A robust pipeline of new drugs to fight infectious diseases is critically important to the DoD, as these pathogens outsmart current drugs at every turn by developing resistance. There are other battlefield threats like hearing loss that have no drug treatment options at all. We will always need next generation solutions, and Dr. Sciotti's testing paradigm will help us find those in the most efficient, rational way possible," Lt. Col. Mara Kreishman-Deitrick, director of Experimental Therapeutics at WRAIR.
In addition to revolutionizing the process to move from discovery to drug candidate, Dr. Sciotti identified a new promising class of chemical compounds called triazines. Triazines may be instrumental in preventing malaria, the number one infectious disease threat to Service Members. These triazine compounds are the first new class of preventive malaria drug candidates to enter clinical trials from Experimental Therapeutics in two decades.
With this drug development process modernized, Dr. Sciotti has been able to expand the Experimental Therapeutics portfolio to examine not only malaria but to multiple therapeutic areas. In particular, Dr. Sciotti was instrumental in responding to a Presidential Initiative, Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB), and established a small molecule antibiotic development pipeline at WRAIR. With this platform, Dr. Sciotti's team can identify specific molecules to address antibiotic-resistant bacteria and expands their capacity to evaluate new drug candidates. This platform has also been used to find potential therapeutics to protect against leishmania, blast-induced hearing loss, and viral diseases.
"I am honored to be surrounded by a team of committed, bright co-workers and strong, innovative leadership, all intensely passionate about protecting the health of U.S. Service Members."
Alongside Dr. Sciotti is his tireless and meticulous team of scientists. Together, they have advanced the triazine class of compounds to develop data for an exploratory Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which will lead to execution of a first-in-human clinical trial in 2018.
Congratulations to Dr. Sciotti and his team for their dedication to enhance the health and readiness of Service Members.