This is a good idea. It's not rocket science, I don't know why they didn't think to do this 15 years ago...still, better late than never.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society Launches Drug Development Initiative
BUSINESS WIRE - The National Multiple Sclerosis Society today announced the creation of Fast Forward LLC, a technology-transfer initiative aimed at translating promising laboratory discoveries into effective new treatments for multiple sclerosis.
Fast Forward, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, will identify, evaluate and partner with start-up and existing companies to develop new therapies or repurpose existing drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Fast Forward is currently evaluating business proposals and plans to make initial investments in early 2008.
The National MS Society is one of only a handful of health-related foundations and nonprofit organizations in recent years to create technology-transfer programs, driven in part by the lack of progress in drug development for certain diseases. Other examples include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Timothy Coetzee, executive director of Fast Forward, said some private corporations are hesitant to invest the time and money needed to develop MS-related treatments because the potential market is considered relatively small. The worldwide market for MS-related therapies is estimated at $4 billion annually, with just six drugs currently available for people with multiple sclerosis.
“It is our responsibility to find innovative and effective ways to fill the gap between university knowledge and commercial treatments and to meet our commitment to people with MS,” Coetzee said. “We won’t hit homeruns on every investment, but when we do, it will change the future for people living with this disease.”
Fast Forward has already secured $6 million of the $30 million it plans to raise during the next six years to fund the investments. Fast Forward expects revenue from the program, generated from royalty and milestone payments achieved from the successful development and commercialization of treatments.
“There is no easy answer to finding treatments for MS, but the answers are there and Fast Forward can help us find them,” said Howard Weiner, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School. “This is an important step in finding better treatments for this disease.”