TITUSVILLE, N.J., July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Janssen Research & Development, LLC, ("Janssen") announced today that it has committed $5.4 million in a new research sponsorship to advance the formation of a first-of-its-kind networked initiative aimed at uncovering the genetic and biologic causes of multiple sclerosis (MS) and accelerating new treatments for the disease. The sponsorship expands Janssen's Healthy Minds initiative, a program launched in 2011 to accelerate progress in the fight against neurologic and brain disorders and to build on the company's longstanding commitment to neuroscience and mental health.
Under the research sponsorship, the Marin Community Foundation's (MCF) Multiple Sclerosis Project Fund will create an alliance of public and private research collaborators and enable data sharing and integration of scientific research using advanced computer-based systems modeling tools and analytics. The alliance will work together to expand and refine knowledge of MS and advance the creation of new approaches to treating disease with the aim of accelerating the identification of new targets, biomarkers and approaches to treatment.
"The commitment of new funds under our Healthy Minds program to this research effort in MS builds on the longstanding Janssen tradition of advancing neuroscience research and commitment to innovative collaboration," said Husseini K. Manji, M.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head for Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "Our aim is to bring together researchers and data to foster the development of new, transformational medicines and treatment paradigms to solve mysteries of the brain and central nervous system."
MS is a chronic neurological disorder affecting more than 350,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide. MS attacks the central nervous system by destroying myelin, the layer of insulation protecting nerve fibers and axons in the brain. This destruction causes transmission along the nerve fibers to become faulty or absent, causing problems with vision, coordination, sensation in the limbs and other symptoms. The course of the disease varies greatly from person to person, and despite years of research, there is no known cause or cure.
"Despite the disorder first being discovered 140 years ago, there is still a great deal of room for improvement of our current knowledge around the cause and treatments for MS," said Dr. Manji. "For more than 50 years, Janssen has been committed to finding innovative treatments for brain and central nervous system conditions, and we are pleased to be a part of future developments that will help ease the suffering of this devastating disease."
Healthy Minds was launched in 2011 by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson to encourage collaboration among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and public-sector organizations to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic solutions for neurologic and brain diseases. During the past 50 years, Janssen has discovered, developed and launched many innovative treatments for brain and central nervous system conditions and remains firmly committed to neuroscience. Janssen commits more than $12 million annually in sponsorships and philanthropy to education about mental illness and brain disorders.
The MS Project Fund will be established within the Marin Community Foundation, based in Novato, Marin County, California. Founded in 1986, MCF is one of the largest community foundations in the United States. The Foundation has a long history of supporting neuroscience research and development, including the establishment of the Buck Institute for Age Research as a component part of MCF as the nation's first independent research facility focused solely on understanding the connection between aging and chronic disease. Currently, MCF has assets of approximately $1.4 billion held in nearly 450 funds established by individuals, families, nonprofit groups, businesses, and others. Grants from these funds support efforts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, elsewhere in the U.S., and around the world. "We are proud to welcome the MS Project Fund within the Foundation," said MCF President and CEO Thomas Peters, Ph.D., "and we look forward to its scientific success."
For more information on Marin Community Foundation, visit http://www.marincf.org.
About Janssen Research & Development, LLC
At Janssen, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world. Janssen Research & Development, LLC, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., are part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Please visit www.janssenrnd.com for more information.
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