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Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits up to $10 Million for Pre-Clinical Drug Development Under Therapeutics Development Initiative
Date:4/1/2008

bet and help to push research further along the pipeline.

For this new round of TDI awards, however, the Foundation has created a special funding track for academic researchers. Academic institutions, which historically have conducted the lion's share of the basic research needed to identify drug targets, are increasingly engaging in translational efforts and in possession of the core resources and expertise required to conduct this work. Some have established sophisticated drug discovery programs entirely focused on the highly specialized studies required to keep hits moving forward toward the clinic. P. Jeffrey Conn, PhD, a member of the MJFF Scientific Advisory Board, heads one such effort, the Program in Translational Neuropharmacology and Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The Foundation recognizes the strengths beyond target identification that academic scientists bring to therapeutics discovery and development," said Dr. Conn. "The drug development process is a constantly changing ecosystem, one in which a for-profit's risk appetite necessarily rises and falls with access to capital. Academic institutions, being less subject to these kinds of economic shifts, often have latitude to advance discovery efforts for early and high-risk targets that industry would generally pass up until a later stage of development."

"TDI was initially designed to capture the attention and imagination of industry decision-makers and put Parkinson's more realistically and squarely in their sights," said Todd Sherer, PhD, vice president of research programs at MJFF. "TDI awards serve to accelerate companies' internal timelines and activate their ability to reach critical decision points for Parkinson's disease projects. While supporting industry efforts remains a priority, we also recognize that today a great deal of exciting drug development research is being done in academic settings. We're confident that by including a spe
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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