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Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards One Million Dollars for Development of 'Trojan Horse' Delivery Technology to Treat Parkinson's Disease
Date:8/15/2008

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its mission to drive transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson's disease, The Michael J. Fox Foundation today announced that it would award Santa Monica-based biotech ArmaGen Technologies, Inc., up to $1 million if all milestones are met to take practical steps toward developing a "Trojan horse" delivery technology for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

ArmaGen's novel approach would use molecular bio-engineering techniques to "trick" the brain into allowing large-molecule (e.g. protein-based) therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier in order to access targeted regions of the brain and address the neuronal loss that characterizes Parkinson's disease. If successful, the work could yield a first-in-class drug that would increase the feasibility of treating PD with therapeutics including trophic factors -- specialized, naturally occurring proteins that protect and nourish neurons -- by allowing for delivery via non-invasive intravenous administration.

"At The Michael J. Fox Foundation, we believe that our capital has an obligation to fund high-risk, high-reward projects that, if successful, could significantly improve the lives of people with Parkinson's," said Katie Hood, CEO of MJFF. "A major element of our work is the identification and prioritization of approaches like ArmaGen's -- efforts that without our backing would likely stall for lack of resources."

The blood-brain barrier surrounds the brain and functions to keep out pathogens and other harmful agents. While critical to human health, it presents one of the most daunting challenges for delivery of drugs used to treat PD and other central nervous system disorders. Some of the therapeutic approaches that currently show the most promise to yield transformative treatments for PD involve the use of so-called "large molecules" that are unable to penetrate the barrier. These approaches, which include trophic fac
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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