Charities Back New Drug Development Initiative For Brain Diseases

Alzheimer’s Research UK has joined a global coalition of charities and funders seeking to revive stalled drug development programmes for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s.

The Neurodegeneration Medicines Acceleration Programme (Neuro-MAP), led by medical research charity MRC Technology and launched today (Tuesday 18 November 2014), will see charities and funding bodies identify promising drug projects no longer in development and help scientists to take them forward to the next stage.

The programme will seek to drive forward research on potentially beneficial brain disease drugs in pharmaceutical company libraries that are not currently being developed, before returning them to the companies to test in large-scale clinical trials. MRC Technology will augment the investment by charities on a project-by-project basis, seeking co-investment from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, social investors, venture philanthropists, and other investors in the healthcare sectors.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:

“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.”

Partners in the Neurodegeneration Medicines Acceleration Programme are: Alzheimer’s Association (US), Alzheimer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society (UK), ALS Association, Michael J Fox Foundation, MND Association, MRC Technology, Northern Health Science Alliance, and Parkinson’s UK.