Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.4 Million for Validation of Nine Promising Therapeutic Targets for Parkinson's Disease
News Jul 18, 2008
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has announced approximately $2.4 million in total funding to nine research teams under its Target Validation initiative.
This annual MJFF program provides intellectual and financial resources to help push potential PD drug targets forward toward clinical trials and ultimately the nearly five million Parkinson's patients worldwide.
"The discovery of a new potential therapeutic target generates great excitement among patients and researchers," said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
"But to attract an industry sponsor with the resources and expertise to chaperone it through optimization, preclinical work and ultimately clinical testing, that target needs a critical mass of evidence behind it, demonstrating that it is involved in the disease and that manipulating it impacts symptoms or progression. MJFF's Target Validation program helps accumulate this evidence, reducing the risk of investment for industry and building the case for prioritization of the most promising targets in the pipeline."
Target validation is an essential and historically under-resourced phase of drug development in which researchers work to determine whether a molecule or mechanism of interest is a true drug target.
While researchers have continued to identify novel targets in recent years through genetic, biochemical and epidemiological studies, a lack of funding for validation studies has long been a major roadblock to the efficient translation of these discoveries into practical therapies that benefit people living with PD.
Projects funded in this cohort of Target Validation awardees fall into three categories: targets for therapies to alleviate symptoms of PD; approaches focused on dyskinesias, the excessive, uncontrollable movements brought on by long-term dopamine replacement therapy; and targets with potential to slow or stop progression of Parkinson's, something no currently approved treatment has been proven to do.