By Andrew Jack
MJFF Note: Addex Pharmaceuticals has received funding from MJFF for a clinical trial to test a potential therapy for dyskinesias, a major priority research area for MJFF. The therapy targets a receptor in the brain called mGluR5, a promising target for dyskinesia drugs that MJFF has been investing in since 2005.
Addex’s drug has many of the attributes that we believe make it a strong candidate for clinical testing and we’re excited to support the Phase II study. MJFF has supported approximately 90 companies to date who develop therapies that address the progression of PD, treat symptoms and side effects, and develop critical tools such as biomarkers.
A Switzerland based pharmaceutical company has turned to a US charity to support its drug development programme as it diversifies fundraising away from a shrinking pool of private investors during the economic slowdown.
Addex Pharmaceuticals, which is quoted on the SIX Swiss exchange, is to receive $900,000 from the Michael J Fox Foundation. The funds will help support a mid-stage clinical trial for its experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
The move comes as a growing number of biotechnology groups around the world struggle to find capital as investors shift support to less risky sectors or niche markets that have become fashionable, such as green technology.
A growing number of philanthropic organisations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as patients’ groups are becoming involved in funding drug development in cases where the science is particularly difficult, or where the market has been traditionally seen as insufficiently lucrative for companies to invest.
The Michael J Fox Foundation, created by the actor who named the organisation and who himself has Parkinson’s disease, raises about $50m a year for funding, and regularly supports companies as well as academic institutions with promising projects.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has recently become active in researching cures for Parkinson’s since discovering he has a genetic mutation associated with a higher propensity to develop the disease.
In line with its normal policy, the Michael J Fox Foundation is not seeking any royalties, profits or intellectual property as part of its support for Addex if the drug, ADX 48621, succeeds in winning eventual regulatory approval.
Katie Hood, head of the foundation, said: “We have the same goal as patients: we just want to see the treatments. Spending time negotiating royalties does not make sense.”
Vincent Mutel, Addex’s chief executive, said the foundation’s support included technical advice on developing the clinical trial and could lead to the recruitment of patients for it through US patient groups.
The funding will also add credibility to Addex’s research programme and its efforts to generate private sector support. The group has suffered recent setbacks, including the failure of its most advanced drug in development late last year, and has since stepped up diversification of its fundraising, including applications for Swiss and French government grants.
Read the original article at Financial Times Web site