Seven global biopharmaceutical companies have formed the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium, which will fund pre-clinical neuroscience at Massachusetts academic and research institutions. Participants include Abbott, Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Janssen Research & Development, Merck, Pfizer and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.
“From Alzheimer’s disease to Parkinson’s disease to multiple sclerosis, neurological diseases affect millions of Americans and millions more across the globe,” said Mass. Governor Patrick. “Through the research that this consortium will fund, we aim to bring those people, their families, and many others hope for a better future.”
The Consortium is a new model that is designed to leverage Massachusetts’ rich environment for purposes of accelerating early-stage research available to the pharmaceutical industry, introducing academic researchers to the challenges of targeted research, and facilitating industry-academic collaborations.
A number of factors make the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium unique:
- Proposed projects will be short-term and results-oriented. Timelines, milestones, budgets and objectives will be clearly defined by the industry sponsors.
- Industry sponsors will identify common standards, e.g. levels of validation necessary for a project objective to be considered “complete.”
- Industry sponsors will work in collaboration with principal investigators and their teams; sponsors also will contribute tools, data and other resources to the project teams to expedite their work.
- Results are shared with all participants; companies and academic researchers will have access to the use of any tools developed by each project; industry sponsors will determine their interest in validated targets as projects are completed.
Each participating company has pledged to contribute $250,000 to the Consortium, for total initial funding of $1.75 million. Members of the Consortium will solicit and review proposals from academic research institutions for pre-clinical neuroscience research. The first solicitation is expected to open in the fall of 2012. All Massachusetts academic and research institutions will be eligible to apply for grant funding through the Consortium. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will administer the Consortium, and will use its convening power to reduce barriers to collaboration and to expedite access to the research community.
“This Consortium represents true collaboration amongst industry leaders, to foster breakthroughs in science today that will change the shape of medicine for tomorrow,” said James Hoyes, president of EMD Serono. “We look forward to accelerating research and innovation in the area of neuroscience, and together, making a difference in the lives of patients.”