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Biotechs Awarded Michael J. Fox Foundation Grants

Neuron illustration (NIH)

(National Institute on Aging, NIH)

Two biotechnology companies report today awards of grants from the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). The foundation supports research on therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Adolor Corporation in Exton, Pennsylvania says it received a second round of funding by MJFF to support the development of treatments for levadopa (l-DOPA)-induced dyskinesia (LID) associated with Parkinson’s disease. The $363,400 award will be paid over a period of 18 months.

LID is characterized by a variety of hyperkinetic movements and complicates the use of levodopa therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s symptoms. The company cites evidence that suggests increased opioid peptide transmission in the basal ganglia might underlie dyskinesia after chronic l-DOPA treatment and that opioid antagonists might be useful in supporting l-DOPA therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Adalor says it developed compounds shown to be effective, after oral administration, in well-validated, non-human primate preclinical models of LID, confirmed by three independent laboratories.

Athersys Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio says it secured a $140,000 grant from MJFF to advance its MultiStem product platform as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease. MultiStem consists of clinical grade non-embryonic stem cells obtained from bone marrow that have the potential to produce a range of factors and form multiple cell types. MultiStem’s primary mechanism appears to be the production of therapeutic proteins and other molecules produced in response to inflammation and tissue damage.

The company says research funded by the grant is expected to confirm and extend previous observations about the efficacy of MultiStem in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease.

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