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Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits up to $5 Million for 2007-2008 Therapeutics Development Initiative

NEWYORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research today announced its 2007-2008 Therapeutics Development Initiative (TDI), designed to promote industry investment in preclinical research for Parkinson’s disease. Under this initiative the Foundation will commit up to $5 million in funding to drive translational PD research that otherwise would likely stall.

“Biotech and pharmaceutical firms have the expertise and resources needed to bring novel therapeutics to market, which is why our Foundation has worked with industry researchers since inception,” said Sarah Orsay, the Foundation’s CEO. “TDI, our only program open exclusively to companies, takes this work to the next level by creating a ‘tipping point’ for industry decisions in favor of PD research in a crowded and competitive field.”

The Therapeutics Development Initiative aims to expand current industry investment in PD, and bring new players to the table, by adding MJFF capital to companies’ own in an effort to absorb some portion of the risk of investment in novel PD therapeutics. The program is a key component of the Foundation’s strategy to target resources toward the high-risk and underfunded pre-clinical stages of the therapeutics development pipeline, where basic discoveries undergo the highly specific studies needed to drive them forward toward the clinic and patients.


 Priorities for 2007-2008 funding under the Therapeutics Development Initiative include:

  • Neuroprotective strategies focused on slowing or preventing the process of neuronal death.
  • Neuroregenerative strategies to restore or replace neuronal function.
  • Novel drug delivery mechanisms and/or surgical procedures.
  • Innovative therapeutic approaches to treat the motor and non-motor symptoms of PD, including cognitive dysfunction and sleep disorders.
  • Therapeutic approaches to alleviate complications of PD treatment including dyskinesias.

This program will have two grant cycles, the first in autumn 2007 and the second in spring 2008. Applicants submitting to both grant cycles must submit different project proposals; re-submissions of the same proposal will not be reviewed. Depending on the grant cycle, prospective applicants must submit a pre-proposal by 6 p.m. EST on July 17, 2007 or January 24, 2008. For more information or to apply for funding, visit the Foundation’s Web site at

Ten industry research teams were awarded a total of $4.6 million in funding under the inaugural launch of the Therapeutics Development Initiative in 2006. These research teams are chiefly focused on the development of neuroprotective treatments and cell replacement approaches.

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