Blackfynn announces an expanded partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, extends its neurodegenerative disease data ecosystem and Dr. Karl Kieburtz joins as Head of Clinical Development

PHILADELPHIA, March 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackfynn, a technology-driven, life-sciences company building the gold-standard data ecosystem in neurodegenerative disease and using its novel data integration and analysis platform to accelerate treatments for neurological diseases, today announced a series of new and expanded partnerships and a key addition to its clinical leadership team.

The Blackfynn Logo (PRNewsfoto/Blackfynn)

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Blackfynn and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) today announce an expansion of their partnership to include the MJFF-sponsored Fox Insight Study. Fox Insight is an online study that has enrolled over 30,000 people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and controls, who share information that could transform the search for better treatments. Blackfynn will work with Fox Insight leadership to conduct data analyses to understand disease progression and risk factors for developing PD. The Fox Insight project expands the partnership between Blackfynn and MJFF first announced in October 2018, under which Blackfynn leads the Advanced Analysis Core for the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), with the aim to discover disease biomarkers and new treatments for PD.

Data partnership with the University of Rochester
Given the multitude of drug candidate failures for neurological diseases, many in late-stage trials, altering the paradigm will require that we have a better understanding of the biology of disease. It will be crucial to uncover new biomarkers grounded in disease mechanism and identify disease subtypes and risk factors for progression, in order to drive more effective target identification, drug development, and clinical care.

Blackfynn will collaborate with Dr. Charles Venuto at the University of Rochester to develop disease progression models and identify biomarkers from their vast clinical datasets. The University of Rochester has played an integral role in the research and development of dozens of therapeutic drugs for neurological and movement disorders, having conducted 133 clinical trials that enrolled more than 40,000 patients. In addition, the Rochester group acts as the Clinical Coordinating Core for PPMI, bringing a deep understanding of PD and the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.

"Currently there is no unified database for neurodegenerative diseases broadly," said Amanda Christini, MD, President of Blackfynn. "Given the overlap between certain phenotypes amongst these diseases, it may be possible to identify common mechanisms as targets for drugs. Blackfynn is working with expert partners to build a single, curated database focused on neurodegenerative disease broadly, and coupling this with its novel data platform to massively accelerate discovery in the field."

Addition to Blackfynn's leadership team
Karl Kieburtz, MD, MPH, a neurologist specializing in movement disorders and a pioneer in the clinical development of drugs for PD, dementia, Huntington's disease (HD) and other neurodegenerative diseases, will join Blackfynn as Head, Clinical Development and Real World Evidence. Karl will provide clinical leadership to drive Blackfynn's strategy to build the world's leading clinical database in neurodegenerative diseases, and apply Blackfynn's data platform to identify biomarkers, enable patient stratification and drive target selection. Karl is the current Director of the Clinical Coordinating Center for PPMI, has been the principal investigator on more than 50 clinical studies testing treatments for movement disorders and a member of over fifteen Data Monitoring Committees for the FDA. Karl is also a Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester, and is President of Clintrex, a company of experts that works with drug developers and regulators to design, implement and execute optimal clinical trial strategies for treatments for neurological disease.

"I am excited to join Blackfynn and shape our data strategy, develop a real-world evidence base and engage with industry partners and regulators," said Karl Kieburtz, MD. "The combination of accessing the right data, engaging our expert network and utilizing our proprietary data platform uniquely positions Blackfynn to derive new insights from complex data that could lead to new, data-driven treatments for neurological diseases."

About Blackfynn
Blackfynn is a technology-driven, life-sciences company dedicated to transforming the way neurological diseases are diagnosed and treated. We combine high-quality patient data, proprietary software, and our multidisciplinary team of domain experts to drive transformational science and the development of effective therapies for the one billion people worldwide who are affected by neurological disease. We partner with pharma and biotech companies, device companies, foundations, government and academic medical centers to achieve this goal. For more information, please visit


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