The Michael J. Fox Foundation Unites Industry Groups around Research Tool Development

  The Michael J. Fox Foundation Unites Industry Groups around Research Tool

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2013

NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To propel biomedical
research toward a cure for Parkinson's disease by arming scientists with
high-performing laboratory tools, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for
Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has launched the Parkinson's Disease Research
Tools Consortium. MJFF and seven industry partners have organized to grow the
Foundation's ongoing efforts to better understand existing tools — such as
pre-clinical models, antibodies and cell lines — and their use in laboratory
experiments, as well as to develop new tools to address unmet challenges.

"This pioneering consortium is a prime example of the way that The Michael J.
Fox Foundation enables research both in fostering collaboration among industry
and in identifying challenges and creating infrastructure to meet those
needs," said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of MJFF. "Laboratory tools are the building
blocks of research, and easing the burden of producing or obtaining these
resources frees investigators to focus on finding the cure for Parkinson's

The Parkinson's Disease Research Tools Consortium formalizes previously ad hoc
input and feedback to MJFF from tool developers and end-users in pursuit of
more robust tools for the Parkinson's research community. Initial consortium
industry partners are Amicus Therapeutics, ApoPharma, Biogen Idec, Eli Lilly
and Company, Pfizer, PsychoGenics and Upsher-Smith Laboratories.

Through regular teleconferences, consortium members share ideas on how to
improve and learn more about existing tools and on how to fill current gaps.
After consensus on priority areas, projects are co-led by MJFF scientific and
operational staff as well as one industry consortium member. Contracted
research organizations will conduct the projects to minimize intellectual
property issues.

Organizers believe that varied perspectives and consensus from industry at the
point of project conception will drive tool development toward the greatest
needs of the field.

"I applaud The Michael J. Fox Foundation for uniting partners from across
large and small Pharma to better understand existing tools, and to develop new
ones to address unmet challenges," said David J. Lockhart, PhD, Chief
Scientific Officer of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. "The availability of these
resources is making a direct contribution to Parkinson's disease drug
discovery and development."

The current landscape of laboratory tool development is project-driven, a
costly and time-consuming practice where scientists create and validate tools
for specific experiments. Problems with reproducibility arise from tests done
with self-produced tools, too. Complicated and lengthy material transfer
agreements and intellectual property issues slow the sharing of established

Since 2010 the MJFF Tools Program has strived to liberate researchers from
these stresses by creating validated, characterized research tools and
distributing them to academic and industry researchers at little to no cost
through an expedited process. MJFF currently offers 260 pre-clinical research
tools to scientists and counts 8,500 tools distributed.

Learn more about the consortium at

Industry groups interested in joining the consortium are invited to contact us
for more information at

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest nonprofit 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 $350 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.

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