To propel biomedical research toward a cure for Parkinson's disease by arming scientists with high-performing laboratory tools, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has launched the Parkinson's Disease Research Tools Consortium. MJFF and seven industry partners have organized to grow the Foundation's ongoing efforts to better understand existing tools -- such as pre-clinical models, antibodies and cell lines -- and their use in laboratory experiments, as well as to develop new tools to address unmet challenges.
"This pioneering consortium is a prime example of the way that The Michael J. Fox Foundation enables research both in fostering collaboration among industry and in identifying challenges and creating infrastructure to meet those needs," said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of MJFF. "Laboratory tools are the building blocks of research, and easing the burden of producing or obtaining these resources frees investigators to focus on finding the cure for Parkinson's disease."
The Parkinson's Disease Research Tools Consortium formalizes previously ad hoc input and feedback to MJFF from tool developers and end-users in pursuit of more robust tools for the Parkinson's research community. Initial consortium industry partners are Amicus Therapeutics, ApoPharma, Biogen Idec, Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, PsychoGenics and Upsher-Smith Laboratories.
Through regular teleconferences, consortium members share ideas on how to improve and learn more about existing tools and on how to fill current gaps. After consensus on priority areas, projects are co-led by MJFF scientific and operational staff as well as one industry consortium member. Contracted research organizations will conduct the projects to minimize intellectual property issues.
Organizers believe that varied perspectives and consensus from industry at the point of project conception will drive tool development toward the greatest needs of the field.
"I applaud The Michael J. Fox Foundation for uniting partners from across large and small Pharma to better understand existing tools, and to develop new ones to address unmet challenges," said David J. Lockhart, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. "The availability of these resources is making a direct contribution to Parkinson's disease drug discovery and development."
The current landscape of laboratory tool development is project-driven, a costly and time-consuming practice where scientists create and validate tools for specific experiments. Problems with reproducibility arise from tests done with self-produced tools, too. Complicated and lengthy material transfer agreements and intellectual property issues slow the sharing of established tools.
Since 2010 the MJFF Tools Program has strived to liberate researchers from these stresses by creating validated, characterized research tools and distributing them to academic and industry researchers at little to no cost through an expedited process. MJFF currently offers 260 pre-clinical research tools to scientists and counts 8,500 tools distributed.
Learn more about the consortium at https://www.michaeljfox.org/page.html?tools-consortium.
Industry groups interested in joining the consortium are invited to contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $350 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.