Collaborative research initiative aims to cut drug development time in half

January 20, 2004

SARATOGA, CALIFORNIA - January 20, 2004 - The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), a Saratoga, Calif.-based non-profit research foundation, today announced the formation of a consortium of five of the world's leading scientists in myelin research. By providing the funding, as well as the business and technology infrastructure to support the collaboration, the Myelin Repair Foundation expects to accelerate the research process and deliver targets for palliative treatments for people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in five years.

Dr. Ben Barres, Professor of Developmental Biology and Neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine; Dr. David Colman, Director and Penfield Professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University; Dr. Robert Miller, Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Stephen Miller, Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University; and Dr. Brian Popko, Professor of Neurology at the University of Chicago, have agreed to a collaborative research plan that links the research activities of these five major university laboratories in conducting the most advanced research on various aspects of myelin--the protective coating surrounding the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. This innovative approach to medical research breaks down traditional barriers to collaboration between labs, and provides for business and scientific oversight boards to guide research toward successful results.

To underwrite this initiative and achieve success in the development of MS treatments, MRF intends to raise a total of $25 million over the next four years.

"Medical research experts, like top scientists in all areas of high technology, must focus very narrowly," said Scott Johnson, President and Founder of MRF. " But this kind of siloing is a distinct disadvantage when it comes to complex diseases like MS. To solve multifaceted problems requires coordination among the most accomplished specialists in multiple disciplines. That collaboration between disciplines is what MRF is about," Johnson continued. "We are honored and grateful to these prestigious scientists for their enthusiasm and commitment to this important project."
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About the Myelin Repair Foundation
The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) is a Northern California-based, non-profit research foundation created to provide a supportive environment in which leading research scientists at multiple universities and experienced business executives can work together to execute a five year research plan - with milestones, parallel experiments, collaboration, and, most important, a constant focus on developing effective treatments for Multiple Sclerosis. Guided by the best practices for building and growing a for-profit company, MRF has created a unique partnership between academic researchers, scientists, and business executives to define an integrated research plan, provide ongoing funding, and coordinate research efforts for maximum productivity.

About Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Myelin Repair MS is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide. The breaking down of myelin, the protective coating surrounding the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord, and the body's inability to repair it, are the result of such central nervous system diseases as MS. By combining their research efforts, MRF scientists expect to develop viable drug targets that restore the body's natural ability to repair myelin, reversing the effects of MS.

McGill University

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