-- EMD Serono and Fast Forward agree to work together to speed research development on a select group of high potential MS research projects with support of up to
To speed MS research and clinical development, the companies have entered into a two-year worldwide agreement that may extend for an additional three years.
"EMD Serono and the National MS Society have an unwavering commitment to the support of early stage research in the quest to find new and improved treatment options for MS patients. It is with great excitement that our organization supports this initiative with Fast Forward, which will explore new avenues to advance new MS treatments with the potential to transform people's lives," said
Fast Forward, LLC was established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help bridge the gap between research and drug development. To accomplish this goal, Fast Forward partners with early stage biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to advance therapies, diagnostics, medical devices, and related technologies to treat, reverse, and ultimately cure MS. Fast Forward is committed to deploying its resources to spur development of innovative MS therapies and bring them to market as quickly as possible.
"Thanks to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's history of supporting MS research and program services for people with MS, we have tremendous knowledge about multiple sclerosis and the needs of people with MS. Yet the ability of research institutions and business to bring projects forward is lagging, particularly in this uncertain economic climate," said Dr.
"Identification of innovative opportunities to change the MS treatment paradigm is a critical aspect of addressing this disease. We are pleased to bring to this alliance not only its financial support, but our years of expertise and commitment in the field of MS research and development," said
The Early Stage Commercial Company Fund and the Innovation Accelerator Fund, the two programs in the EMD Serono collaboration, complement Fast Forward's ongoing efforts to spur early-stage drug discovery for MS. Both programs will provide critical resources to underfunded stages of the drug development process and align with Fast Forward's strategy to identify the most promising drug discovery research and accelerate the drug development process by providing financial resources to move it forward.
Fast Forward will disseminate requests for proposals (RFPs) in Q2 2009 with initial funding of proposals anticipated by
About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that more than 2 million people have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.
About Fast Forward, LLC
Fast Forward, LLC is a nonprofit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in order to accelerate the development of treatments for MS. Fast Forward will accomplish its mission by connecting university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS. For more information visit www.fastforward.org
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS through funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. In 2008 alone, through the national office and its 500-state network of chapters, the Society devoted over
About EMD Serono
EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt,
For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com
About Merck KGaA
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of
SOURCE EMD Serono, Inc.