Charities pick up slack as pharmaceutical funders

Disease-focused charities, once advocates and funders of primarily academic research, are now filling a void by funding early-stage drug development at pharmaceutical companies, according to a report in Institutional Investor. Groups like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) , the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research are either investing in, or partnering with, drug companies to speed up development.

Institutional Investor gives the example of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which recently accepted money from the JDRF to fund a study to test the effects of metreleptin on Type 1 diabetes patients.

"We are helping to find better therapies and cures based on partnerships with academia, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies," JDRF SVP Karin Hehenberger told Institutional Investor. "We are helping ready promising science for human trials." While academic researchers need help in taking research and translating it to new therapies, Hehenberger said, JDRF is playing a more proactive role by getting the drug companies involved.

- see the release from JDRF and Amylin
- check out the article in Institutional Investor