MDA has begun a new research initiative in 2009: MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP). Designed to bridge a crucial funding gap in the drug development process, MVP will focus on the discovery and clinical application of treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases, including ALS.
MVP evolved from, and replaces, MDA’s Translational Research program, which has had great success in speeding the progress of promising drugs from the lab into clinical trials. MVP will leverage these gains and its relationships with key industry partners to further refine and hasten the process of turning research into treatments.
The program will seek major gifts (greater than $500,000) from philanthropists, corporations and organizations. MVP’s goal is to fund the completion of the early stages of drug development (moving compounds from the lab to clinical trials) by awarding contracts to companies working on projects that have potential to become treatments. MVP will seek collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotech companies for completion of the final stages required to bring a drug to market.
A separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit with its own board of directors that works in coordination with MDA, MVP is guided by voluntary scientific and business advisory boards composed of top experts and leaders in their respective fields. It will raise donations and fund projects independently of MDA, meaning there will be no drain on funds for MDA’s existing programs of basic research and vital services.
ALS will be a major focus of MVP’s efforts and major-gift donors can choose to direct their money to a portfolio of ALS research projects.