FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rainwater Charitable Foundation, one of the largest independent funders of neurodegenerative disease (ND) research, announced today that it is launching the Rainwater Prize Program to encourage and reward scientific progress toward new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases related to the accumulation of tau protein in the brain. The foundation is offering up to $10 million for ground-breaking discoveries, making it the largest prize program for brain research ever created. Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States of America, will serve as Chair of the Rainwater Prize Program.
The mission of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation's medical research program is to accelerate the development of treatments and eventual cures for tau-related neurodegenerative diseases. These "tauopathies" affect more than 50 million patients and include Alzheimer's disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and many other forms of neurodegenerative disease. Renowned investor and philanthropist, Richard Rainwater, was diagnosed with PSP in 2009. In addition to starting the Tau Consortium, a highly collaborative working group of world-class scientists, he also dedicated funds for the Rainwater Prize Program with the goal of accelerating milestone achievements and breakthroughs in neurodegenerative disease research.
"It is an honor to continue Richard's legacy and the positive impact he has had on people around the world, even after his passing," said Dr. Richard Carmona. "It is hard to fathom that we have such inadequate treatment options for the millions of patients diagnosed with a tauopathy every year. We need more funding and creative initiatives such as the Rainwater Prize Program to increase the amount of research and accelerate scientific advances. These millions of patients need hope for a better life."
The Rainwater Prize Program aims to accelerate scientific progress by encouraging additional research into neurodegenerative diseases, attracting new researchers to the tauopathy field, and awarding scientific achievements that lead to new, effective treatments. The Rainwater Prize Program is divided into three prize categories (with any one individual or team eligible to win up to $10 million):
- The Rainwater Breakthrough Prize for Effective Treatments in PSP will be awarded when a breakthrough treatment is advanced to clinical trial according to the following eligibility:
- $2 million will be awarded to an FDA-approved treatment that meaningfully extends better quality of life for patients.
- $4 million will be awarded to an FDA-approved treatment that cures PSP early in progression.
- $10 million will be awarded to an FDA-approved treatment that prevents PSP and/or reverses disease damage.
- The Rainwater Milestone Prize for Advances in Tauopathy Research awards up to $2 million to investigator(s) who provide a significant contribution to the understanding of tau-related diseases by addressing specific critical gaps in technology and disease knowledge that will help the scientific community develop effective treatments.
- The Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research recognizes investigator(s) whose work is considered a significant contribution to the understanding of tau-related diseases. This $250,000 award will be given on an annual basis starting in 2019.
"My dad understood that the research he was funding may not be able to help him directly, but he knew the work was important and was going to inevitably lead to better treatments for patients like him in the future," said Todd Rainwater, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. "He set a great example for all of us, and we hope others will join us in this mission to get closer to a cure."
About the Rainwater Charitable Foundation Medical Research
The Rainwater Charitable Foundation was created in the early 1990s by renowned investor and philanthropist Richard E. Rainwater. The foundation supports a range of different programs in K-12 education, medical research, and other worthy causes. In order to deliver on its mission to accelerate the development of new diagnostics and treatments for tau-related neurodegenerative disorders, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation Medical Research team manages the Tau Consortium and the Rainwater Prize Program. With nearly $100 million invested to date, the Rainwater family has helped to advance eight treatments into human trials. For more information, please visit https://tauconsortium.org/.
Rainwater Charitable Foundation Program Manager
Edelman Vice President
SOURCE Rainwater Charitable Foundation