The Michael J. Fox Foundation Annual Report 2019 + 2020 Milestones + Momentum | Page 12
The Michael J . Fox Foundation for Parkinson ’ s Research
are investigations of two other emerging genetic targets : PRKN and PINK1 . All told , about 130 genes have been found to play some role in Parkinson ’ s — not all equal in significance .
A similar trajectory is seen in drug development around non-genetics-driven pathological changes . A vast array of cellular processes is affected in Parkinson ’ s disease , and scientists are working urgently to understand and treat the most important parts of what goes wrong . Today ’ s priority focus areas , increased inflammation and intracellular cleanup ( how the cell rids itself of toxins ), for example , already are being studied in human trials . More treatments are in development against these and other priority pathways .
Our Foundation provides resources — funding , tools , collaborators — that help programs advance to trials and attract larger partners . The year 2020 saw a flurry of deals that brought significant investment to individual programs and signals interest in the field at large . To name only a few from a longer list : Biogen struck a deal to co-develop Denali Therapeutics LRRK2 inhibitors ; BIAL Biotech acquired MJFF-grantee Lysosomal Therapeutics and its GBA program ; and Foundation-supported inflammation-focused biotech Inflazome was bought by Roche .
A growing therapeutic portfolio and new partnerships accelerate the pace at which trials begin and report results ( see sidebar , p . 11 ).
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters , MJFF is not only funding millions of dollars in grants to keep this work moving forward rapidly but also working urgently to raise awareness among patients and families that the need to undergo genetic testing and participate in clinical studies has never been greater .
“ I ’ m quite encouraged about the momentum in drug development led by MJFF in partnership with the PD community . For 10 years , I was on a regimen of levodopa several times a day . When that wasn ’ t cutting it , a mix of three newer drugs , shepherded toward approval by the Foundation through financial and non-financial investments , helped me manage progressing symptoms .”
— Jeff Keefer , Vice Chairman , MJFF Board of Directors