MJFF Announces $1.2 Million in Funding to Advance Development of Drug Targets For PD
NEW YORK, NY ó The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonís Research (MJFF) announced $1.2 million in total awards to four research teams working to advance potentially disease-modifying therapeutic targets for PD along the drug development pipeline. The funding was awarded under the Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Parkinsonís Disease program, made possible by generous leadership funding from Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN), a neuroscience-based biotechnology company.
"For successful translation into real-world PD therapies, early stage therapeutic approaches must be chaperoned through the necessary preclinical and clinical stages of drug development," said Sarah Orsay, MJFF's CEO. "The Foundation uses creative strategies to provide the opportunity for researchers working on novel therapeutic strategies to partner with first class, large industry organizations. If projects funded under Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Parkinson's Disease warrant further development, Elan has the option to participate more actively and further the progress made by the awardees - taking us that much closer to our shared goal of delivering new treatments to patients."
Novel Approaches complements the Foundationís annual Target Validation initiative, whose awardees were announced last month. Whereas the latter program supports initial work to determine the validity of cellular proteins and pathways as potentially promising drug targets, Novel Approaches seeks to push work forward in developing therapies against targets that already have some promising initial data. Both programs provide critical resources for underfunded stages of the drug development process and reflect the
Foundationís emphasis on bridging early discovery work and late-stage translational research to reduce industryís risk around investment in new PD therapeutics.
The Novel Approaches program is also an important element of the Foundationís increasing engagement with pharmaceutical and biotech company partners. This engagement is multi-pronged, including not only funding industry researchers under any Foundation initiative, but also working with companies as strategic partners to accelerate the rate at which new PD therapeutics are brought to market. Awardees under Novel Approaches include both academic and industry scientists.
ďWe are very pleased to work side by side with The Michael J. Fox Foundation in the pursuit of effective treatment options for patients suffering from Parkinsonís disease,Ē said Dale Schenk, PhD, Elanís Chief Scientific Officer. ďWe congratulate the awardees and are impressed that the Novel Approaches program has attracted such high-quality proposals for potential treatment of Parkinsonís disease.†† We look forward to working together to move us closer to a therapy that can slow or stop progression of this terrible disease.Ē
Awardee Asa Abeliovich, PhD, of
Neil Howell, PhD, of San Diego-based MIGENIX Corporation will work in rodent models to optimize administration of the compound MX-4565, a non-feminizing estrogen analog that has been shown to be effective in protecting nerve cells from toxic stresses.
Peter Jenner, PhD, of Proximagen Neuroscience in the
Pamela Maher, PhD, of the Salk Institute in
Grant abstracts and researcher bios are available on the Foundationís Web site, www.michaeljfox.org. The selection of awardees was made exclusively by the Foundation via its standard peer-review process.†