Although there have been many scientific discoveries in neuroscience research, it has become clear that industry has not significantly invested in many of these projects (historically there has been a high failure rate).

Yet the need for new treatments is critical – in total we now have over 50 million people affected by neurodegenerative diseases worldwide. Today, there is a very limited choice of drugs on offer and key conditions where there are simply no treatments at all.

So we (a collection of charities and medical research funders) are joining together and talking to the pharmaceutical industry to identify existing projects  (that have been stalled, shelved or parked) and invest in them. We want to work with industry to help them get potential new treatments to clinical trial and see new drugs launched.

Watch our launch presentation at Partnering for Cures 2014 here.

The need for new treatments is critical – in total we now have over 50 million people affected by neurodegenerative diseases worldwide. Today, there is a very limited choice of drugs on offer and key conditions where there are simply no treatments at all.

So we (a collection of charities and medical research funders) are joining together and talking to the pharmaceutical industry to identify existing projects (that have been stalled, shelved or parked) and invest in them. We want to work with industry to help them get potential new treatments to clinical trial and see new drugs launched.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

We’re a group of medical research charities and funders who want to do what ever it takes to find cures and treatments for patients who suffer from neurological disorders. We are: Alzheimer’s Association + Alzheimer’s Research UK + Alzheimer’s Society + ALS Association + Michael J Fox Foundation + Motor Neurone Disease Association + Northern Health Science Alliance + LifeArc + Parkinson’s UK

Realistically when might we see the first new drug from the program?

If we find the right research project early and assuming it’s development goes perfectly, perhaps 3 years. But it depends on luck, there’s no guarantee of success and, as we know, neurodegeneration drugs are very difficult to develop. But not trying just isn’t as option!

How will the program work in practise? Can eleven collaborating organisations act swifty and effectively?

We’re all committed to goal of developing new treatments. We will commit funding, expertise and resources to kick start projects wherever we can. Of course, we can’t commit to unlimited spending but we’ll look to social investors and philanthropists to help when more investment is needed. On a day-to-day basis LifeArc will be running the program, talking to industry, identifying potential opportunities and then discussing the options with member organisations.

Updates

‘New treatments for brain diseases are vital if we are to improve the lives of the millions of people around the world who live with them. Tackling conditions like dementia is one of our central priorities, which is why we are doing more than ever to identify new treatments and, ultimately, find a cure. This innovative project will make a vital contribution to our shared endeavour by accelerating drug development and research.’

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, UK Government

 

‘By next year 850,000 people in the UK will have dementia. We need a massive step change in research funding in order to develop new treatments, but it’s not just about throwing money at the problem. Innovative projects like this will help demolish the barriers to dementia research and that’s why we’re delighted to be working as part of it.’

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development, Alzheimer’s Society

 

‘Drug development is risky business. Foundations and charities can provide the resources to de-risk these projects so companies will want to reinvest and move them closer to patients’ hands. There are so many millions of people living with brain disease today, and that number will only increase as our population ages. We need to explore every avenue we can toward better therapies and cures for these conditions. This program is one big, collaborative step in that direction.’

Dr Todd Sherer, Chief Executive Office, Michael J Fox Foundation

 

‘We’re pleased to be able to use our unique position at the centre of charities, funders, academia and industry to bring together the right combination of funding, skills and capabilities to really impact quality of life for patients living with these debilitating and destructive diseases.  This is an amazing opportunity to accelerate the next generation of neurodegenerative drugs towards the patient.’

Mike Johnson, Director of Business Development,  LifeArc

 

‘There is a desperate need for effective treatments for people with neurodegenerative diseases but it is a notoriously difficult area of research. To have the best chance of success in transforming the lives of people with diseases like Alzheimer’s, we must explore as many avenues as possible to deliver new medicines. This partnership tackles the problem from a new direction, re-exploring stalled therapeutic approaches where there is a robust rationale for their potential to help in brain diseases, and we are pleased to be joining with other charities to push this work forward.’

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research, Alzheimer’s Research UK

 

‘The Motor Neurone Disease Association is delighted to join with so many major research organisations on both sides of the Atlantic in this exciting new initiative. There is undoubtedly commonality in the neurodegenerative processes that occur in age-related, progressive neurological disease and we share common challenges in the search for effective treatments, so there is a tremendous value in collaboration. We look forward to exploring new opportunities for treatments for motor neurone disease with our new partners and in sharing important knowledge and expertise for the benefit of everyone.’

Dr Brian Dickie, Director of Research Development, Motor Neurone Disease Association

 

‘The medicines identified for further study by the Neurodegeneration Medicines Advancement Programme are a gold mine of potential new therapies. However the path to market is seldom straight and short. We will require the focused and effective collaboration of organisations like LifeArc, universities, drug companies and charities like Parkinson’s UK to bring together the expertise, resources and drive necessary for the ultimate success of developing new treatments for patients.’

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research and Development, Parkinson’s UK

 

‘This novel collaborative approach to neurodegenerative conditions, which currently have limited treatment options, heralds an exciting era of opportunity to identify new medicines that will make a real impact for the large number of individuals and families affected by these problems.  The NHSA is committed to bringing all its resources across the North of England to bear to ensure rapid translation of research that will develop a new wave of interventions, making the hopes of patients a reality.’

Professor Ian Greer, Chair NHSA and Provost, Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences,University of Liverpool Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd

 

‘The global impact of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases is personally devastating and cripplingly costly – to affected individuals and their families, and to  healthcare systems around the world. At the same time, research into neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s is complex, expensive and has a high failure rate. Nonetheless, we must not be deterred. Because no treatments are currently available to stop the progression of these terrible brain diseases, there is an urgent need to expand research on available compounds. No stone should be left unturned. The Alzheimer’s Association is proud to be part of leading this international initiative to turn more stones – and hopefully turn them into much-needed treatments and preventions.’

Dr Maria C. Carrillo, Vice President, Medical & Scientific Relations Alzheimer’s Association

 

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