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Lundbeck receives grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Johan Luthman

Lundbeck will begin research on a novel method for earlier and more precise diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, the likes of which do not currently exist.

By diagnosing Parkinson’s disease as early as possible, patients can benefit from a greater choice in treatment options. This research is funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF).

The project is pre-competitive, meaning that the results derived from the research will be shared with the pharmaceutical industry, academia and made public by MJFF.

“We are pleased to receive this grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation. We still see a great unmet medical need in Parkinson’s disease today, and hopefully this research can help diagnose the disease earlier and thereby improve the outcomes for the patients,” says Johan Luthman, Executive Vice President for Research & Development at Lundbeck.

This novel assay aims to measure alpha-synuclein

The research project will develop and validate a test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease using the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which flows in and around the brain and spinal cord. Such a test is known as a biomarker assay, a clinical tool that can measure different substances in the human body. This novel assay aims to measure alpha-synuclein, a protein believed to cause Parkinson’s disease, in the CSF and by doing so aids in an earlier and more precise Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is a common problem. One study found that almost 20% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease suffers from a different disease with similar symptoms.

“A biological marker of Parkinson’s disease would transform patient care and research, allowing earlier and more accurate diagnosis and more efficient therapeutic testing. Aggregated alpha-synuclein is a leading biomarker candidate, and our Foundation is pleased to support Lundbeck toward measurements of this pathological protein,” says Luis Oliveira, PhD, Associate Director of Research Programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Partnership within Parkinson’s disease research

This is the fifth time in twelve years that MJFF is funding a research program driven by Lundbeck. Previously, the foundation has supported Lundbeck in research on antibodies, in understanding the Lrrk2 gene and in exploration of two potential new targets for treating Parkinson’s disease. All four projects have the potential to bring new drug targets and treatments to people living with Parkinson’s disease. This recent grant supports the research efforts with 1.3 million DKK.

Lundbeck also supports MJFF efforts. The company is member of three groups organized by the MJFF: Parkinson Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), the Research Tools Consortium for Industry (ITC) and the Parkinson’s Disease Education Consortium (PDEC), an alliance of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms that support work to furnish high-quality education resources for the Parkinson’s community.

“We are proud to work with The Michael J. Fox Foundation. It is one of the most ambitious NGOs working for a better future for people living with Parkinson’s disease, and we truly believe that the foundation brings hope,” says Johan Luthman.

Photo of Johan Luthman: Lundbeck