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Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits up to $3 Million for High-Impact Clinical Research

NEWYORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announced today the launch of its 2007 Clinical Discovery Program. This annual program seeks out proposals that stimulate well-designed clinical research projects focused on potentially high-impact approaches to the field of Parkinson’s disease. If successful, projects funded under this program could lead to improved treatment of PD within five years and have an immediate impact on patients’ lives.

The Clinical Discovery Program aims to meet the Foundation’s goal of driving the delivery of promising therapies to patients and enabling researchers to bridge the gap between lab results and clinical research in a short period of time. With a comprehensive view of the field, the Foundation is ideally positioned to identify opportunities and create synergies all along the continuum from basic to clinical research.

“The Clinical Discovery Program is one of many initiatives in the MJFF portfolio aiming to accelerate progress toward the clinic and directly benefit patients,” said Sarah Orsay, chief executive officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “Many clinical ideas hold potential to lead to new treatments, but lack the funding they need to move forward. This initiative allows the Foundation to identify the teams that can execute these ideas and bring us closer to delivering better treatments to Parkinson’s patients.”

The Foundation launched the Clinical Discovery Program in 2004 and has awarded approximately $7 million for 12 projects under the initiative to date. The Foundation particularly seeks projects that explore new neuroprotective treatments, improvements on existing therapies, and development of treatments for unmet symptoms of PD. Consenting human subjects, either as direct research participants or as donors of biological specimens are crucial in order for an application to be considered for this program.

“The Clinical Discovery Program provides critical funding for “proof of principle” clinical studies and trials involving the active participation of small sample populations,” said Gene Johnson, PhD, the Foundation’s chief scientific advisor. “Directly testing hypotheses in consenting PD patients is a critical step in developing and driving new therapeutics to people with Parkinson’s.”

The Clinical Discovery Program is an investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed program that will provide up to $3 million in funding for clinical research projects involving active patient participation for up to three years. Additionally, the Foundation is concurrently launching a Biomarkers 2007 focused program.  Projects applying to Clinical Discovery 2007 to develop and validate Parkinson’s disease biomarkers will, at the discretion of MJFF staff, be reviewed as part of the Biomarkers 2007 initiative.

Pre-proposals are required and must be submitted online by May 10, 2007. Information about submitting pre-proposals online can be found on the Foundation’s Web site ( Pre-proposals will be reviewed by the Foundation’s scientific staff and a panel of scientific experts. Applicants whose pre-proposals are determined to meet the review criteria will be invited to submit full application proposals. Funding is anticipated by November 2007.

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