The FNIH Awards 2023 Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award to NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, GSK, and the O’Neill Family

NORTH BETHESDA, MD, September 18, 2023 — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has named the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, GSK, and the O’Neill Family as recipients of the 2023 Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award. The Partnership Award recognizes persons or organizations that have made significant contributions to the FNIH’s work in support of the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“These outstanding awardees exemplify collaborative biomedical research partnerships,” said Julie Gerberding, FNIH President and CEO. “These partnerships show the value of a team science approach to solving some of the toughest health challenges experienced by patients and their families.”

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers, is committed to developing collaborations that support global maternal and child health. The NICHD and the FNIH worked together to manage programs initiated by NICHD’s Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research with additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These collaborations centered on two clinical trials in critical areas of maternal health. The Azithromycin Prevention in Labor Use Study (A-PLUS) assessed low-cost, sustainable interventions to improve maternal and child health. The study found that a single dose of the oral, low-cost antibiotic azithromycin, given during labor, can reduce the occurrence of maternal sepsis and death by approximately one-third, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The ongoing Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anemia Post-Delivery (PRIORITY) trial, launched in 2022, will assess the impact of postpartum intravenous iron therapy to treat anemia in women who have just given birth.

For the past 25 years, GSK has been a major FNIH partner, supporting more than 35 projects. As longstanding partners of the Biomarkers Consortium, GSK has helped accelerate and advance discovery, development, and regulatory approval for biomarkers that support new drug therapeutics, preventive medicine, and diagnostics. GSK has also committed to a number of Accelerating Medicines Partnership® (AMP®) Programs, including a major research program aimed at advancing Alzheimer’s disease treatment. The company’s support of tuberculosis research is helping to address the prevalence of tuberculosis and seek solutions to improve treatments. Additionally, because of GSK’s endowment, the FNIH has been able to support families staying at the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge by offering services that help residents remain near to loved ones being treated at the NIH Clinical Center.

For 20 years, the O’Neill family has partnered with the FNIH to raise visibility and funds for kidney cancer research. The Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund supports research fellowships in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Childs at the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to search for a cure for renal cell carcinoma. To date, fellowships have supported the work of ten distinguished scientists. Dr. Childs’ group initiated a novel immunotherapy trial exploring the potential of natural killer cell infusions to treat the most advanced form of kidney cancer. The team also discovered that allogeneic stem cell transplants can induce powerful immune effects against kidney cancer that in some cases can lead to sustained regression of metastatic disease. Most recently, one of the fellows discovered a relic from an ancient virus that integrated into human DNA, leading to a first-in-human clinical trial for kidney cancer.

The Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award is named for the former Chairman of the FNIH Board of Directors. The recipients will be awarded at the FNIH 11th Annual Awards Ceremony on the evening of October 18, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The FNIH 2023 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences and the 2023 Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists will also be presented during the Awards Ceremony.

The FNIH gratefully acknowledges its Awards Ceremony Visionary Sponsors: The Gerberding-Rose Family Fund, GSK, Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation, Gilbert S. Omenn, MD, PhD and Martha A. Darling, Steven and Jann Paul, MD, The Edmond J. Safra Foundation, and Fred and Donna Seigel.

For more information about the Partnership Award, click here.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) builds public-private partnerships that connect leading biomedical scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), life sciences companies, foundations, academia, and regulatory agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. Through team science, we solve complex health challenges and accelerate breakthroughs for patients, regardless of who they are or what health challenges they face. The FNIH accelerates new therapies, diagnostics, and potential cures; advances global health and equity in care; and celebrates and helps train the next generations of scientists. Established by Congress in 1990 to support the mission of the NIH, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information about the FNIH, please visit