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Dec 11, 2006

ALS Association funds $3M Drug Discovery Initiative

  • The ALS Association is partnering with Stem Cell Innovations and Galapagos in a two-year discovery alliance worth $3 million. This marks the ALS Association’s largest funding initiative focused on drug development.

    Stem Cell Innovations (SCI) will develop human motor neuron models based on its PluriCell™ technology that can be used for high-throughput screening. Subsequently, Galapagos’ service division, BioFocus DPI, will use the cell models and apply its adenoviral platform to identify drug targets for the development of new ALS therapies.

    "The unique ability provided by SCI to screen human motor neurons at large scale will open new approaches to developing medicines that may stop ALS," comments Lucie Bruijn, science director and vp at the ALS Association. 

    Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos says that it may receive up to $3 million and has the option to further develop certain targets identified in the program. SCI reports that it will receive $512,000 upon completion of certain milestones. The company retains the option to further develop certain cell-therapy applications based on results identified in the program.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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