Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and five global biopharma companies announce Round 2 of funding from the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium

April 10, 2014

Waltham, Mass.— The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and five global biopharmaceutical companies announced today the second round of funding from the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium (Consortium). The Consortium, the formation of which was announced in June of 2012 at the Bio International Convention, will fund pre-clinical neuroscience research at Massachusetts academic and research institutions. Participating companies include Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Janssen Research & Development, LLC and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck & Co., and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.

“Neurological diseases affect millions of Americans, and millions more across the globe,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Our strong cluster of academic institutions, research institutions, and the world’s top biopharmaceutical companies give Massachusetts a unique edge in finding the cures that will bring those people, their families, and many others hope for a better future.”

All Massachusetts academic and research institutions are eligible to apply for grant funding through the Consortium. In July of 2013, the MLSC announced the first round awardees under the Consortium including three grants focused on Alzheimer’s Disease, two grants focused on neuropathic pain, and one grant each focused on Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. For this second round, the Consortium has expanded the diseases of interest and is seeking proposals to identify and validate targets in neuroscience with a focus on neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases (such as ALS, AD, Huntington’s, MS, PD), Neuropathic Pain and Treatment-Resistant Depression.

Applicants will submit research projects to be reviewed by the members of the Consortium. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will administer the program. Interested applicants may apply via the MLSC’s Web site at www.masslifesciences.com/programs/neurosci. The deadline for
applications is May 15, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET. masslifesciences.com

Massachusetts is a center of excellence in the field of biomedical neuroscience, with world leaders representing all major fields of neurobiology and neurology. The combination of basic neuroscience, translational, and clinical research across more than a dozen world-renowned institutions represents what may be the world’s highest density of neuroscience research. This provides a rich and fertile environment within which to advance the understanding and treatment of brain disorders.

The Consortium is a pioneering new model that is designed to leverage this rich environment for purposes of accelerating early-stage research available to the pharmaceutical industry, introducing academic researchers to the challenges of targeted research, and facilitating industry-academic
collaborations.

A number of factors make the Consortium unique:

  • Proposed projects are short-term and results-oriented. Timelines/milestones, budgets and objectives are clearly defined by the industry sponsors.
  • Industry sponsors identify common industry standards to inform the research and ensure compliance with established drug development protocols.
  • Industry sponsors work in collaboration with principal investigators and their teams; sponsors also contribute tools, data and other resources to the project teams to expedite their work.
  • Results developed by the principal investigator are shared among all of the Consortium members. Industry sponsors then determine their interest in validated targets as projects are completed.

Each participating company has pledged to contribute $250,000 to the Consortium, for a second round of funding of $1.25 million.

“The Consortium is a pioneering model that is designed to accelerate significant breakthroughs in neuroscience and is founded on the belief that companies will achieve such breakthroughs by working together,” said Susan-Windham Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We encourage academic and research institutions across the state to partner with industry in this unique collaboration and submit applications for funding.”

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates masslifesciences.com new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

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