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Michael J. Fox Bio Keynote to Urge Bolder Moves in Translational Research

NEW YORK, NY — Parkinson’s patient advocate Michael J. Fox will address thousands of leaders from the biotech and pharmaceutical industry at the BIO International Convention, “Global Benefits. New Ideas. Bold Ventures,” on Monday, May 7, in Boston. His keynote will be a clarion call to biotech’s elite. The message is the urgent need for strategic, collaborative approaches that accelerate translation of basic science into improved therapies for patients.

“The challenges of translating basic discoveries into new therapies are incredibly complex. To conquer them, we all need to push ourselves further than we ever have before,” said Mr. Fox. “The good news is, this isn’t a question of throwing more money at the problem. It’s a question of finding common ground where the stakeholders in the drug development process — including academic and industry researchers, government and private research funders — can work together toward tangible results.”

Mr. Fox, who founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, is an outspoken advocate for Parkinson’s disease research funding and awareness. MJFF’s mission is to find a cure for Parkinson’s within this decade. With growing resources, the Foundation has been one of a handful of disease research foundations to pioneer a new model for driving translational and clinical research.

MJFF focuses significant assets on research in the early stages of industry development, selecting projects with the greatest potential to hasten new therapeutics on their path from labs to patients. This funding strategy alters the risk profile of potential new treatments untested in humans and is designed to encourage biotech investment in greater therapeutic innovation. In both 2005 and 2006, over 90 percent of the Foundation’s funding went to such research.

Following his talk, Mr. Fox will be joined by Deborah W. Brooks, MJFF’s president and co-founder, and Eugene Johnson, PhD, MJFF’s chief scientific advisor, for a Q&A panel.  Dr. Johnson is Professor of Molecular Biology, Pharmacology & Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.


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