A coalition of nine charities and funding bodies has been formed to invest up to £30 million ($47 million) into restarting the development of promising drug candidates for neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, motor neuron disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The Neurodegeneration Medicines Acceleration Programme (Neuro-MAP), led by MRC Technology, will identify promising drug projects that are no longer in development by the industry and help scientists to take them forward to the next stage, before returning them to pharmaceutical companies for further development into marketable treatments.

Neuro-MAP will help ensure that the potential of fundamental early-stage research into neurodegenerative disease is realized, taking promising drug candidates forward toward clinical testing. It will also look to repurpose existing drugs and compounds for other conditions, for example, the use of hypertension drugs for the treatment of vascular dementia. The program protects both charities’ and pharma’s investment and allows charities to maximize their impact on patient’s quality of life.

Partners in Neuro–MAP are: Alzheimer’s Association US, Alzheimer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society UK, ALS Association, Michael J Fox Foundation, MND Association, MRC Technology, Northern Health Science Alliance and Parkinson’s UK. More information on Neuro-MAP can be found at: www.medicinesaccelerationprogram.org.

“We’re pleased to be able to use our unique position at the centre of charities, funders, academia and industry to bring together the right combination of funding, skills and capabilities to really impact quality of life for patients living with these debilitating and destructive diseases.  This is an amazing opportunity to accelerate the next generation of neurodegenerative drugs towards the patient,” Mike Johnson, director of corporate partnerships at MRC Technology, said in a statement.

The seeds of this collaboration might have been sown last year when MRC Technology partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK, Eisai, and Lilly to form The Dementia Consortium.

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