The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) today announced that it is piloting a Partnering Program designed to proactively showcase promising research results in the MJFF portfolio for funders who may wish to invest in their continued development. By promoting collaboration between MJFF awardees and industry groups, the Foundation aims to drive forward promising projects in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research along the pipeline of drug development.

To date, the Foundation has funded over $275 million in research, $74 million of which has been directed to more than 150 unique projects led by industry partners. Several MJFF awardees have announced follow-on funding deals with Big Pharma and venture capital firms, validating the Foundation’s approach of early investment at the pre-clinical research stage to catalyze investment in PD drug development, which in turn can accelerate promising targets to the clinic. The Partnering Program is designed to help establish more of these productive relationships.

“More than just investing dollars, MJFF has developed direct, proactive relationships with industry, including advising companies about potential collaborative opportunities,” said Sohini Chowdhury, senior vice president of research partnerships at MJFF. “The Partnering Program will formalize this process, encouraging select awardees to submit public overviews highlighting their organization, team, and projects.”

These overviews will then be made available for review by industry groups. Awardees spanning the PD drug development pipeline, from basic to clinical research, and from academia and industry alike, will be showcased on a quarterly basis. MJFF-supported projects initially featured include:

– A Phase II clinical study from Addex Pharmaceuticals to evaluate metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) negative allosteric modulators to reduce the levodopa-induced dyskinesias associated with PD.

– Pre-clinical work from Amicus Therapeutics for the development of small molecule drugs aimed at reducing the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, which represents the pathological hallmark of PD.

– A Phase II clinical study from Ceregene to test gene therapy delivery of neurturin, a trophic factor that has show promise to promote the survival, growth and function of neurons in the brain, and in particular, of the dopamine neurons that die in PD.

Overviews from awardees Allon Therapeutics, Depomed, KineMed, NeuroHealing, and Targacept are also being showcased in first quarter 2012.

To find out more please contact the MJFF Research Partnerships team at ResearchPartnerships@michaeljfox.org or visithttp://www.michaeljfox.org/research_opportunitiesForIndustry_partnering.cfm.

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