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The Michael J. Fox Foundation Launches The $14 Million-Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research

NEW YORK, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) today announced the opening of its Therapeutic Pipeline Program. This newly created funding mechanism invites research proposals from industry and academic investigators to drive pre-clinical and clinical Parkinson's disease 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.

To learn more about how to apply or participate in information conference calls, researchers should visit the Foundation's Web site. 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.

The 2012 Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research are supported in part by longtime MJFF friend Mrs. Lily Safra in honor of her late husband. Mrs. Safra has served on MJFF's Board of Directors since 2001 and is chairwoman of The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. Read MJFF's announcement to learn more about this gift.

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

As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $297 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as gifts from donors who have not given since 2010 or earlier, will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki.

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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation
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