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Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.7 Million for Industry Efforts to Speed New Parkinson's Therapeutics
Date:7/22/2008

Latest awards under Therapeutics Development Initiative bring MJFF's current active industry collaborations to 23; next deadline January 20, 2009

NEW YORK, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its mission to speed delivery of transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson's disease, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has awarded $2.7 million in total funding to six industry research teams. The awards were granted under MJFF's Therapeutics Development Initiative (TDI) program. Open exclusively to researchers at biotech and pharmaceutical companies, TDI is the cornerstone of the Foundation's venture philanthropy efforts to spark and expand industry investment in PD drug development. In an increasingly risk-averse research funding climate, TDI helps to push promising candidate therapeutics forward in industry pipelines by allowing the Foundation to share the risk of drug development.

"At MJFF, our job is to do whatever it takes to speed therapeutics development for Parkinson's disease," said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "Early on we realized the critical importance of forging financial and intellectual partnerships with industry as well as academic research teams. Our private philanthropy dollars -- raised largely from patients themselves -- have a critical role to play in 'de-risking' therapeutic targets for industry investment in order to keep the most promising ideas moving forward toward clinical testing and pharmacy shelves."

Funded projects focus on:

-- Developing a vaccine that could protect against toxicity of the PD-implicated protein alpha-synuclein (Ingeborg Muehldorfer, Ph.D., Rentschler Biotechnologie, Laupheim, Germany);

-- Improving delivery of the gold-standard Parkinson's treatment, levodopa, which could lessen debilitating side effects of the drug including dyskinesias, the uncontrollable movements that arise with long-term levodopa therapy (Verne Cowles, P
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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