Todd Sherer, far right, attends a hearing before Congress about the NIH and NCATS in March 2012.†
Michael J. Fox Foundation CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, was invited back down to Washington, D.C. as one of three panelists to discuss the recent collaboration between Vanderbilt University and the pharmaceutical giant, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in a congressional briefing to the House of Representatives. Todd explained the Foundationís role in the drug development process as a whole and the crucial funding that supported Vanderbiltís early glutamate receptors work leading to this momentous partnership for PD research.
This past fall, Vanderbilt and BMS announced their collaboration for the continuing development of a potential first-in-class symptomatic treatment for Parkinson's disease, work that has been supported by MJFF since 2005 with nearly $5 million dollars of grant funding. Through this new partnership, the drug candidate could enter clinical testing as soon as 2013. This landmark collaboration is seen as a giant step in the timely and costly path of the drug development pipeline needed for a potential drug to make it to pharmacy shelves and serves as another proof point in the Foundation's de-risking strategy.
De-risking is the Foundation's approach to make research investments that build a compelling scientific case for the most promising new approaches to PD. This in turn builds the business case for further investment by funders with the resources to carry the work forward through the most expensive stages of clinical development and regulatory approval.
Todd joined the company of Dr. Jeff Conn, director at Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, and Dr. Charles Albright, executive director of neuroscience research at Bristol-Myers Squibb.† Each panelist illustrated their role in the partnership and explained the need for collaboration from private and public entities within the drug discovery ecosystem to bring cures to pharmacy shelves more efficiently for patients. The panel was led by Dr. Jeffrey Balser, dean of the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.
Earlier this year it was announced that Todd Sherer was selected to sit on The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council, to provide guidance and recommendations to the National Institute of Health for overcoming scientific and systemic barriers within the translational phase of the drug development pipeline Ė a primary area of focus for MJFF and crucial phase where many potential treatments go to die due to lack of funding.