The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) took part in a recent meeting organized by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) meant to educate researchers on the principles and practice of drug discovery. The conference was attended by more than 200 academic, industry, and government scientists from 20 countries worldwide.
Mark Frasier, PhD, vice president of research programs at MJFF, chaired a session of lectures from both industry and academic researchers that outlined strategies for developing drugs against difficult molecular targets in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The lectures and the Q&A that followed provided an overview and discussion of cutting-edge technology in drug development, providing examples of successful drug development programs in both disease areas. Pfizer, for example, presented on new research for improving the delivery of a particular type of drug called a kinase inhibitor into the brain, while Elan Pharmaceuticals presented on a vaccine approach to Alzheimer's that is currently in clinical testing.
Sohini Chowdhury, senior vice president of research partnerships at MJFF, was also in attendance at the New York-based meetings. She participated in a panel discussion on how to develop a potential therapy along the pipeline of drug development, from the initial conceptualization of an idea, through the partnering with industry that is so often necessary to bring a product to pharmacy shelves. The panel discussed various means of accelerating such progress, from venture capital and start-up investment, to forging partnerships with nonprofit disease-focused foundations like The Michael J. Fox Foundation and with Big Pharma.
A webcast of the conference will be made available on the Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference website, where you can also access a webcast of last year's conference.
Learn more about the Foundation's Partnering Program, a newly-launched initiative designed to promote collaboration between MJFF awardees and industry groups.