The Myelin Repair Foundation leaves behind a legacy whose impact will be felt for years to come.
October 6, 2015
Dear Friends and Supporters of MRF,
I last wrote to you on June 22 to give you the news that MRF would be closing by the end of the year. Since then some exciting developments have occurred in all three areas of MRF’s focus.
Discovery Biology: We are happy to announce that a generous MRF donor has given us funding to hold the 2015 Annual Research Meeting. Learn more
Translational Medicine: We are thrilled to announce that on September 1, 2015 we signed a research and technology transfer services agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. Through the end of November Teva will work closely with our scientific staff to learn the assays with the goal of applying them towards finding a myelin repair therapeutic. Learn more
Clinical: The clinical trial of guanabenz (formerly known as MRF-008) is officially underway. We are pleased to announce that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, who has been a generous supporter of MRF for many years, will complete the final MRF funding for the clinical trial. Learn more
So what does all of this mean for MRF and for you, our supporters and friends? It means that MRF will stay in existence, in a much reduced state, at least until April of 2016. This will give our work the best chance of continuing to move forward.
I thank you again for your continued support and good wishes during our difficult times. I am confident that the efforts outlined above will continue to advance the field of myelin repair. Please see my most recent President’s Letter for more details.
“Although hundreds of thousands of scholarly scientific articles are published every year, the FDA approves less than two-dozen new drugs a year. What's missing is the translation of all that cutting-edge science into cutting-edge cures. That's where the MRF comes in.”
Scott Cook, Co-Founder, Intuit
“The Myelin Repair Foundation's model—which brings together researchers and works to ensure that their work is relevant to development of patient treatments—is a critical innovation at a time when our system of drug development is looking for new ideas.”
Elliot Gerson, Aspen Institute and Rhodes Trust
“There are many foundations funding research on different diseases, but fewer that are investing in the infrastructure to manage that research more effectively.”
Nancy Barrand, Special Advisor for Program Development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“Innovation is a decidedly social process encompassing diverse individuals, corporations, communities, networks, and regions. The work of the Myelin Repair Foundation is an excellent demonstration of these principles.”
John Hagel, Co-Chair, Deloitte LLC, Center for Edge Innovation
“I am drawn to new ideas that have the potential to change a market. I am inspired by the MRF's business model and advanced medical research concepts. MRF is a non-profit, but it breaks every rule and barrier to the speed of a start-up with the agility of a successful business.”
Samantha Fein, Managing Director, Threxy
“Unlike a lot of other organizations, the Myelin Repair Foundation really understands the intersection between academia and pharma. And if you're going to make a difference in MS, myelin repair is where you're going to have to put your efforts. We are putting efforts there.”
Craig Sorensen, Vice President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
“Working with MRF is an unmistakable path for me to bring effective therapeutics — and new hope — for all patients in need.”
Beatrice Perotti, Ph.D., M.B.A., President and CEO, Beatrice Perotti, Inc.
“Breaking down barriers between academic research and commercial drug development will be the centerpiece of the Myelin Repair Foundation's legacy.”
William K. Bowes. Jr., Founder Amgen, U.S. Venture Partners
“Through our funding, we look for ways to make medical research more relevant to health improvement. MRF's leadership in transforming the research paradigm is very compelling to us.”
Lynne Garner, Trustee & President, Donaghue Foundation
“We view the Myelin Repair Foundation's Accelerated Research Collaboration model as just that, a transformative idea with the potential to pioneer a new approach to medical research that can speed the discovery process and lead to the development of new treatments.”
Carl Schramm, President and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
“Not enough progress has been made, fast enough, toward effective treatments for MS. I am involved with the Myelin Repair Foundation because I really believe in the methodology: Getting the best people together to solve a really tough problem collaboratively. I truly believe that the Myelin Repair Foundation offers real hope.”
Julie Wainwright, Founder and CEO, SmartNow.com
“MRF's collaborative model is … definitely accelerating results. The scientists have made important advances that, if the labs had been working on their own, would have been much less likely.”
Brian Popko, Ph.D., University of Chicago, Director, Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy, Associate Chair for Research, Department of Neurology
“I support the MRF for two reasons. Personally, I have a connection to MS: My husband has MS. But even beyond that, the vision of Myelin Repair Foundation and the method that they are proving out to get drugs to people faster is a really big vision that is important for a lot of unmet medical needs and it is exciting to be a part of it.”
Sharon Wienbar, Managing Partner, Scale Venture Partners
“If you just leave it to basic scientists working alone in their own labs, converting basic scientific discoveries into drugs almost never happens. Without the ARC model there is no infrastructure for accelerating drug development.”
Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, Chair, Neurobiology Department
“Disease foundations play an important role in funding early stages of research when other research and investment dollars are scarce. I am impressed by what the Myelin Repair Foundation is doing to encourage collaboration. MRF's model is novel and spot-on in terms of moving innovative research forward.”
Gail Maderis, President and CEO, BayBio: Northern California's Life Science Association
“The Myelin Repair Foundation has identified the best labs in a defined area and brought them together with excellent and independent minds from the pharmaceutical industry to advance the most promising ideas for novel therapeutics.”
Martin Raff, M.D., Emeritus Professor, University College London
“Collaborative innovation — bringing together people from different disciplines, with complementary skills — is a powerful strategy for solving complex problems. The MRF's model provides important lessons for the pharmaceutical industry, which faces a crisis of innovation in developing treatments for complex diseases.”
Karim R. Lakhani, Harvard Business School
“Not enough progress has been made, fast enough, toward effective treatments for MS. I am involved with the MRF because I really believe in the methodology: Getting the best people together to solve a really tough problem collaboratively. I truly believe that the MRF offers real hope.”
Ted Yednock, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Research, Elan Pharmaceuticals
“I believe the most striking accomplishment has been the success of the model. The thought that one could get several excellent basic scientists to work in a united effort with a clinical target in mind is really impressive... Not only has the group worked together, but there are now products of this effort. Very impressive!
Henry F. McFarland, M.D. (Ret.), National Institutes of Health