Waltham, Mass.— The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and seven global biopharmaceutical companies announced today the opening of the first research solicitation of the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium (the “Consortium”). The Consortium, the formation of which was announced in June at the Bio International Convention, will fund pre-clinical neuroscience research at Massachusetts academic and research institutions. Participating companies include Abbott, Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Merck, Pfizer and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
All Massachusetts academic and research institutions are eligible to apply for grant funding through the Consortium. The Consortium is seeking proposals to identify and validate targets in neuroscience with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathic Pain and Parkinson’s disease. Applicants will submit research projects to be reviewed by the members of the Consortium. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) will administer the program. Interested applicants may apply via the MLSC’s Web site at www.masslifesciences.com. The deadline for applications is November 16, 2012 at noon.
Massachusetts is a center of excellence in the field of biomedical neuroscience, with world leaders representing all major fields of neurobiology and neurology. The combination of basic neuroscience, translational, and clinical research across more than a dozen world-renowned institutions represents what may be the world’s highest density of neuroscience research. This provides a rich and fertile environment within which to advance the understanding and treatment of brain disorders.
The Consortium is a pioneering new model that is designed to leverage this rich environment for purposes of accelerating early-stage research available to the pharmaceutical industry, introducing academic researchers to the challenges of targeted research, and facilitating industry-academic collaborations.
A number of factors make the Consortium unique:
• Proposed projects will be short-term and results-oriented. Timelines/milestones, budgets and objectives will be clearly defined by the industry sponsors.
? Industry sponsors will identify common industry standards to inform the research and ensure compliance with established drug development protocols.
? Industry sponsors will work in collaboration with principal investigators and their teams; sponsors also will contribute tools, data and other resources to the project teams to expedite their work.
• Results developed by the principal investigator will be shared among all of the Consortium members. Industry sponsors will then determine their interest in validated targets as projects are completed.
Each participating company has pledged to contribute $250,000 to the Consortium, for total initial funding of $1.75 million.
“Neurological diseases affect millions of Americans, and millions more across the globe,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “I am excited to see our state’s innovative model for collaboration in neuroscience research moving forward, as it will bring those people, their families, and many others hope for a better future.”
“The Consortium is a pioneering new model that is designed to accelerate significant breakthroughs in neuroscience and is founded on the belief that companies will achieve such breakthroughs by working together,” said Susan-Windham Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We encourage academic and research institutions across the state to partner with industry in this unique collaboration and submit applications for funding.”
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1 billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The Center’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.