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Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces $11 Million in 2009 Funding for Translational, Pre-Clinical and Clinical Parkinson's Disease Research
Date:11/3/2008

NEW YORK, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation today announced the availability of up to $11 million in 2009 funding for research toward transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Funding is open to academic and industry researchers through the Foundation's Pipeline Programs, five separate initiatives that stoke research at every stage of the PD drug development pipeline. This includes early-stage discovery research, translational studies that can carry identified hits forward to the next stage of development, and proof-of-principle/first-in-human clinical trials.

"The Michael J. Fox Foundation is committed to prioritizing and aggressively driving research with potential to significantly improve patients' quality of life," said Katie Hood, the Foundation's CEO. "Each one of our Pipeline Programs is a unique and complementary expression of our overarching mission -- identifying and enabling the critical ideas, teams and projects that will carry the field over the finish line to make Parkinson's a disease of the past."

There are a total of five Pipeline Programs: three annually recurring initiatives known collectively as The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research; Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for PD, a collaboration made possible by co-funding from Elan (NYSE: ELN); and the industry-exclusive Therapeutics Development Initiative.

Brief program descriptions follow. Full details are available at http://www.michaeljfox.org/research.cfm. The Foundation has redesigned its Funding Opportunities page to enhance ease of use and provide researchers with a better understanding of how various programs fit into the larger context of the MJFF portfolio.

Rapid Response Innovation Awards, An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research

Total available funding: $2 million

No deadline; applications accepted at any time

Rapid Response Innovation Awards provide up to $75,000 for projects with little to no existing preliminary data, but with potential to significantly impact understanding or treatment of Parkinson's disease. MJFF is eager to fund high-risk, high-reward projects tackling critical scientific roadblocks to open new avenues for PD therapy development. Research proposals may be submitted at any time and funding decisions are made within six weeks of receiving the application.

Target Validation, An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research

Total available funding: $2 million

Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Funding anticipated: May 2009

Target Validation provides awards of up to $250,000 to validate the therapeutic potential of scientific discoveries and push them one step closer to the clinic. While research continues to identify new genetic, cellular and biological targets for therapeutic intervention to benefit PD patients, the translation of these discoveries into practical treatments requires additional applied work. Target Validation funds this work with the ultimate goal of 'de-risking' potential investment in the most promising targets by biotech and pharmaceutical companies, who are generally best-suited to carry promising therapies forward into the clinic.

Clinical Intervention Awards, An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research Total available funding: $3 million

An Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research

Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 12, 2009

Funding anticipated: July 2009

The Clinical Intervention Awards drive clinical intervention trials of promising therapeutic approaches with potential to significantly improve the treatment of PD. Ideal proposals will focus on tests of novel treatments that can slow or halt disease progression, or that can greatly reduce PD motor and non-motor symptoms beyond (and without the complications of) current standards of care. There is no pre-set budget limitation for applications under this initiative.

Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for PD

A collaboration with Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Total available funding: $1.5 million

Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Funding Anticipated: July 2009

With a strong focus on the development of disease-modifying therapies for PD, Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery provides funding for projects of up to one year's duration. Ideal proposals will focus on efforts to develop promising biological targets into novel disease-modifying therapeutic strategies. Novel Approaches holds unique potential to provide awardees from both academic and biotech institutions with a clear opportunity for follow-on funding and collaboration for further development. Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a neuroscience-based biotechnology company committed to developing novel approaches for neurodegenerative diseases, has an option for a right of first negotiation for any promising approaches or materials that arise out of this program. There is no pre-set budget limitation for applications under this initiative.

Therapeutics Development Initiative

Total available funding: $2.5 million, exclusively to industry

Deadline: 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Funding Anticipated: June 2009

The Therapeutics Development Initiative (TDI) seeks to stimulate preclinical Parkinson's disease research projects of up to two years' duration at for-profit institutions. There is no pre-set budget limitation for applications under this initiative. The program prioritizes key and critical preclinical studies necessary for developing, optimizing and evaluating therapeutic strategies that if successful can move into human testing.

Applications for all programs must be submitted through http://www.michaeljfox.org.

Pre-proposals (required for all programs except Rapid Response Innovation Awards) will be reviewed by the Foundation's scientific staff and a panel of scientific experts. Applicants whose pre-proposals meet the review criteria will be invited to submit full proposals. For each program, a conference call with MJFF Research Programs staff to further clarify the aims and goals will be held in advance of the application deadline. Date and time details for each conference call are available at http://www.michaeljfox.org.

Additional research funds for the coming year will be announced at later dates under the Foundation's 2009 Critical Challenges initiatives -- programs that provide funding for top MJFF research priorities and areas of particular emphasis.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Founded in 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is dedicated to ensuring the development of a cure for Parkinson's disease within the decade through an aggressively funded research agenda. The Foundation has funded $128 million in research to date.


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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
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