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Initial Foundation Funding Leads to Further Investments for Companies

Recent investments in two companies demonstrated the promise of foundation funding of early stage research. The Michael J. Fox Foundation funded two companies that announced significant deals over the last 48 hours, the MJFF told BayBio yesterday via email.

Amicus Therapeutics has announced a partnership with Biogen Idec to collaborate on discovery of a new class of small molecules for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

MJFF has provided Amicus nearly $700,000 since 2006, funding the biotech to investigate the effect of increasing activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerobrosidase (GCase) in the brain. Loss of GCase enzyme activity, from mutations in the GBA1 gene, has been linked to alpha-synuclein accumulation, the hallmark pathology of Parkinson’s.

Civitas Therapeutics, Inc., announced that venture capital firms have committed them $38 million, providing for late-stage clinical study of CVT-301, an inhaled formulation of levodopa being developed for rapid and reliable relief from debilitating motor fluctuations (OFF episodes) associated with PD. MJFF has granted $1.3 million toward study of CVT-301.

These success stories of MJFF’s de-risking model show the promise of Foundation funding of early stage research. We play a unique role in navigating the research catch-22: investors need to see data to fund projects and researchers need funding to collect data.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has a number of open funding programs, including

Learn more about MJFF Funding Opportunities. Deadlines are approaching.

Read more about the Amicus and Civitas projects.