Yesterday Austrian biotech company AFFiRiS AG announced a Ä6 million euro (more than $8 million US dollars) grant from the European Union to continue developing vaccines against Parkinsonís disease†(PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA).
The Michael J. Fox Foundation granted AFFiRiS $1.5 million in November 2011 to conduct the Phase I clinical study of its PD vaccine drug candidate, PD01. Results from that study are expected later this year.
Both the PD and MSA vaccines target the protein alpha-synuclein, which clumps in the cells of people of both diseases. This protein aggregation leads to cell dysfunction and cell death. A therapy that could prevent or break up the clumps may be able to slow or stop the disease process.
ďItís important to bear in mind that PD01 is still in the early stages of clinical testing,Ē says Kuldip Dave, PhD, senior associate director of research programs at MJFF. ďBut weíre definitely paying close attention to the AFFiRiS approach. This is the first study to test a vaccine for Parkinsonís disease. If successful, it could be a game changer.Ē
The European Union funding is another success of the MJFF de-risking model, which supports early-stage research to capture data ó such as on proof of concept or safety ó that would make the project more attractive to larger, more risk-averse funders. The AFFiRiS project was previously funded Ä25 million (more than $34 million US dollars) by venture capitalists after the initial MJFF grant.
Learn more†about our model.