The Michael J. Fox Foundation Launches $10-million Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research

June 26, 2013

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has committed up to $10 million to its next funding round for the Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research to prioritize research toward transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs include the Rapid Response Innovation Awards, focused on breakthrough ideas, Target Validation, which supports testing of biological targets with potential to become the new PD drugs of the future, and the Therapeutic Pipeline Program, designed to support critical pre-clinical and clinical development of promising Parkinson’s therapies,

“We have never felt more optimistic that working together, we can reach our end goal of developing improved treatments and a cure,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of MJFF. “The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research provide consistent, significant funding for investigator-initiated projects that can help us achieve our goal sooner rather than later.”  

To learn more about how to apply, researchers should visit Target Validation and Therapeutic Pipeline Program initial applications are due October 30. Rapid Response Innovation Awards proposals are accepted on a rolling basis with funding decisions made within six weeks of submission.

A brief description of the three launching programs follows:

Rapid Response Innovation Awards: The Rapid Response Innovation Awards (RRIA) program supports high-risk, high-reward projects with little-to-no existing preliminary data, but with potential to significantly impact our understanding of Parkinson’s disease.  Moreover, this program is well-suited for early exploratory studies that may open the field up to new targets or pathways that may ultimately feed the early drug development pipeline for a treatment of PD.

Target Validation: The Target Validation program supports work seeking to determine if manipulating a novel biological target has impact in a PD-relevant pre-clinical model—an essential early step to the development of potentially promising therapies.

Therapeutic Pipeline Program: The Therapeutic Pipeline Program is open to industry and academic investigators working at either pre-clinical or clinical stages of drug and therapeutic development. Proposals must focus on a treatment strategy with clear potential for PD and have a well-defined plan for moving toward clinical utility for patients. Both novel approaches as well as repositioning of approved or clinically safe therapies from other non-PD indications are of interest. Applicants are asked to justify the therapeutic targets relevant for PD, provide details of the therapeutic strategy, and clearly identify any suboptimal properties of their therapeutic strategy. 

The 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. 

In addition to these new programs, six other programs are currently open and accepting applications. The complete list and applications for funding are also available at the Foundation’s Web site.


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