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Michael J. Fox Foundation announces research partners

Friday, July 12, 2013

Research projects from five biopharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Canada and Israel comprise the 2013 first half of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) Partnering Program. Participants’ research projects are presented directly to industry groups that may wish to invest in further development. By connecting industry leaders with those studies ripe for investment, the Foundation aims to drive forward promising research in Parkinson’s disease (PD) through the pipeline of drug development and eventually into patients’ hands.

Non-confidential overviews of the selected MJFF-funded projects are shared with industry contacts and more broadly via MJFF’s web site twice yearly in July and December. The five biopharmaceutical selected are Ceregene, MedGenesis, NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Cynapsus Therapeutics and NeuroDerm.

Ceregene is studying clinical research on a gene delivery approach to neurotrophic factors. MedGenesis is investigating GDNF, a biological neurotrophic factor and potential disease-modifying therapy. MedGenesis has in-licensed the product from Amgen and has developed an enhanced delivery paradigm to overcome previous limitations. NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals has completed a study of NPT002, a potential disease-modifying therapy for PD that targets alpha-synuclein. NPT002  binds, disaggregates and prevents the formation of multiple amyloidogenic structures. This novel approach has increased therapeutic potential as it targets both early amyloid assemblies as well as pre-existing aggregates.

While Ceregene, MedGenesis and NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals study disease-modifying research, Cynapsus Therapeutics and NeuroDerm focus on symptomatic research. Cynapsus Therapeutics has developed APL-130277, a novel formulation of episodes in PD. NeuroDerm has completed clinical research on continuous administration of levodopa and carbidopa through a “pump-patch.” This technology could maintain continuous and constant concentration of levodopa in the blood, which should significantly decrease motor fluctuations and possibly reverse dyskinesia.

To date, MJFF has funded $325 million in research, more than $84 million of which has been directed to over 185 projects.

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