MJFF launches $14M Edmond J. Safra Core programs for Parkinson’s research

Friday, June 22, 2012 01:00 PM

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has officially opened its Therapeutic Pipeline Program, a newly created funding mechanism that invites research proposals from industry and academic investigators to drive pre-clinical and clinical Parkinson's disease (PD) drug development.

MJFF has committed up to $14 million in funding toward three research programs, which include the Therapeutic Pipeline Program, Rapid Response Innovation Awards and Target Validation.

The Therapeutic Pipeline Program integrates three previous MJFF funding opportunities—the Therapeutics Development Initiative, Clinical Intervention Awards and Repositioning Drugs for PD—into a single streamlined initiative. The Foundation has extended the initial application acceptance period in order to allow research applicants to develop a comprehensive, multi-phased plan for their promising Parkinson's therapeutics in development.

"We've updated our annual funding initiatives to streamline processes and support our goal of bringing new treatments to market faster," said Sonal Das, Ph.D., associate director of research programs at MJFF. "We're aiming to cut even more red tape out of our application procedures by allowing successful projects to continue through multiple phases of the drug development process without needing to pause and reapply for funding at every stage of the pipeline."

Das emphasized that applicants must present both a therapeutic strategy with clear potential for PD and a well-defined plan for driving their strategy through pre-clinical testing and into the clinic. In making funding decisions, the Foundation prioritizes research toward critically needed disease-modifying treatments (those that can protect or restore the degenerating and/or dysfunctional neurons affected in PD), or toward treatments with potential to significantly ease the disabling motor and non-motor symptoms of the disease.

The Therapeutic Pipeline Program is part of the Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, the Foundation's annual funding initiatives that serve to identify roadblocks along the therapeutic development pipeline, speeding novel treatments for the disease toward pharmacy shelves. Established in 2008 in honor of the late well-known international banker and philanthropist, the Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research also include Rapid Response Innovation Awards, focused on breakthrough ideas, and Target Validation, which supports testing of biological targets with potential to become the new PD drugs of the future.

Target Validation and Therapeutic Pipeline Program initial applications are due in September, with funding anticipated early in 2013. Rapid Response Innovation Awards proposals are accepted on a rolling basis with funding decisions made within six weeks of submission.

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