ALPHA–SYNUCLEIN IMAGING PRIZE
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is sponsoring a $2 million prize to the first team to develop a viable selective alpha–synuclein PET tracer and agree to make that tracer available broadly.
The ability to image alpha-synuclein deposition in the brain would be a game-changing achievement for the Parkinson's disease (PD) field. The accumulation of aggregated alpha-synuclein is a pathological hallmark of PD and a priority target for drug development given its hypothesized contribution to neurodegeneration. In vivo imaging of alpha-synuclein pathology could be useful as a biomarker of the presence of disease and disease progression and as a pharmacodynamic tool for drug development. With this prize, the Foundation seeks to attract research teams and accelerate momentum to speed the development of such a tracer.
Contestants: Anyone is eligible for the prize who agrees to all contest rules. Contestants may be MJFF funded or not and can be from either academia or industry.
- Contestants must apply for the prize with pre-clinical and clinical data supporting the broad use of their alpha-synuclein radiotracer. Judges may ask for additional data, including but not limited to raw imaging data.
- NOTE: All contestants must agree to make the winning radiotracer available for use by The Michael J. Fox Foundation and MJFF awardees through a nonexclusive license or other MJFF-approved mechanism.
Criteria for winning: The winning contestant must demonstrate that the radiotracer binds with relatively high selectivity to alpha-synuclein according to pre-specified criteria and must demonstrate proof-of-concept in human subjects, including people with Parkinson's disease and/or another synucleinopathy. See below for more details on submission requirements.
Timeline: There is no deadline for submissions. The $2 million award will be issued to the first contestant who submits compelling evidence of a viable selective tracer and agrees to its widespread use. If no award is given by mid-2018, The Michael J. Fox Foundation will evaluate the state of the field and utility of such a prize.
- Radiosynthesis method enabling feasible radiolabeling with 11C or 18F (or both) at > 20% yield, high specific activity
- Selective binding to alpha-synuclein-rich brain tissue (versus amyloid-beta or tau-rich tissue)
- Proof of concept in alpha-synuclein pre-clinical models (preferred but not required)
- Acceptable biodistribution with adequate brain uptake
- Acceptable metabolite profile
- Demonstrated proof-of-concept evidence of robust in vivo kinetics that enable quantification of alpha-synuclein binding (e.g., by kinetic modeling)
- In vivo binding patterns consistent with the expected distribution of alpha-synuclein pathology per population (e.g., PD, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy)
- Demonstrate selective in vivo binding to alpha-synuclein pathology [little nonspecific uptake, no binding to other pathologies (e.g., amyloid-beta, tau)]
|Hartmuth Kolb, PhD||Head of Neuroscience Biomarkers||Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson)|
|Satoshi Minoshima, MD, PhD||Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences||University of Utah|
|Julie Price, PhD||Visiting Professor of Radiology||Massachusetts General Hospital|
|Gil Rabinovici, MD||Associate Professor, Department of Neurology||University of California, San Francisco|
|Henry VanBrocklin, PhD||Professor and Director of Radiopharmaceutical Research, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging||University of California, San Francisco|
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has long supported the pursuit of an alpha-synuclein PET tracer — in addition to funding of alpha-synuclein therapies and projects investigating peripheral measures. In 2011, with little activity in the field, MJFF established a public-private Alpha-synuclein Imaging Consortium to begin work toward such a tool. If the MJFF consortium is the first to build compelling evidence of a viable, selective tracer, members of the team excluding MJFF staff will be awarded the prize. The Foundation also funds a number of independent studies toward an alpha-synuclein radiotracer.
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