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Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits up to $12 Million for Targeted Parkinson’s Therapeutic Development in 2011

NEW YORK, NY— The Michael J. Fox Foundation has committed up to $12 million in 2011 funding for prioritized research toward transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Funding is open to academic and industry researchers through the Foundation’s Pipeline Programs, which consist of three annually recurring initiatives, known collectively as The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, as well as the industry-exclusive Therapeutics Development Initiative. The Foundation seeks investigator-initiated proposals focused on the following critical points along the translational pathway to new therapies for Parkinson’s disease:

  • Testing Novel Hypotheses: Quick support for high-risk, high-reward projects with little to no existing preliminary data, but potential to significantly impact our understanding or treatment of PD.
  • Validating Novel Targets: Support for work demonstrating whether modulation of a novel biological target has impact in a PD-relevant pre-clinical model — an essential step to the development of potential targeted therapies.
  • Catalyzing and Expanding Preclinical Development: Industry-exclusive support for preclinical development of Parkinson’s disease therapies with potential to fundamentally alter disease course and/or improve treatment of symptoms above and beyond current standards of care.
  • Clinically Testing Novel Therapies: Support for clinical testing of promising PD therapies that may significantly and fundamentally improve treatment of PD.

“The Pipeline Programs are a core element of our Foundation’s efforts to drive research that will speed therapeutic development at historically underfunded points on the pipeline,” said Todd Sherer, the Foundation’s acting CEO. “The programs are part of MJFF’s progressive work to keep the most promising and significant projects moving forward toward notably improving quality of life for patients now and in the future.”

Brief program descriptions follow. Full details are available at

Rapid Response Innovation Awards,
An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research

No deadline; applications accepted at any time

Rapid Response Innovation Awards provide up to $75,000 for one-year projects with little to no existing preliminary data, but with potential to significantly impact understanding or treatment of Parkinson’s disease. MJFF is eager to fund high-risk, high-reward projects tackling critical scientific roadblocks to open new avenues for PD therapy development. Research proposals may be submitted at any time and funding decisions are made within six weeks of receiving the application. 

Target Validation,
An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research

Deadlines:                  ROUND 1: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, December 15, 2010;

ROUND 2: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Funding anticipated:  ROUND 1: June 2011

                                    ROUND 2: December 2011

Target Validation provides awards of up to $250,000 for up to two years to validate the therapeutic potential of scientific discoveries and push them one step closer to the clinic. While research continues to identify new genetic, cellular and biological targets for therapeutic intervention to benefit PD patients, the translation of these discoveries into practical treatments requires additional applied work. Target Validation funds this work with the ultimate goal of ‘de-risking’ potential investment in the most promising targets by biotech and pharmaceutical companies, who are generally best-suited to carry promising therapies forward into the clinic.

Therapeutics Development Initiative (exclusively to industry)

Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, December 15, 2010;

Funding Anticipated: June 2010

Spring Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 1, 2011;

Funding Anticipated: December 2011

The Therapeutics Development Initiative (TDI) seeks to stimulate preclinical Parkinson’s disease research projects of up to two years’ duration at for-profit institutions. There is no pre-set budget limitation for applications under this initiative. The program prioritizes key and critical preclinical studies necessary for developing, optimizing and evaluating therapeutic strategies that if successful can move into human testing.

Clinical Intervention Awards,
An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research
Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Funding anticipated: July 2011

The Clinical Intervention Awards drive clinical intervention trials of up to three years for promising therapeutic approaches with potential to significantly improve the treatment of PD. Ideal proposals will focus on tests of novel treatments that can slow or halt disease progression, or that can greatly reduce PD motor and non-motor symptoms beyond (and without the complications of) current standards of care. There is no pre-set budget limitation for applications under this initiative.

Applications for all programs must be submitted through
Pre-proposals (required for all programs except Rapid Response Innovation Awards) will be reviewed by the Foundation’s scientific staff and a panel of scientific experts. Applicants whose pre-proposals meet the review criteria will be invited to submit full proposals. Conference calls with MJFF Research Programs staff to further clarify the aims and goals of the Pipeline Programs will be held in advance of the application deadline. Date and time details for each conference call are available at

Additional research funds for the coming year will be announced at later dates under the Foundation’s 2011 Critical Challenges initiatives — programs that provide funding for top MJFF research priorities and areas of particular emphasis.

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