November 03, 2017
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is pleased to announce the award of an MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP) grant totaling $233,200 to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Iron Horse Diagnostics to support development of a prognostic test for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Such a test could help improve and accelerate clinical trials and speed the development of life-saving drugs to people with ALS.
MVP is MDA’s drug development program, which is exclusively focused on funding the discovery and clinical application of treatments and cures for neuromuscular disorders. MVP evaluates and makes targeted investments in for-profit and not-for-profit companies and academics developing therapeutics.
Not only will the new test be important in helping physicians predict the likely course of disease — for example, fast versus slow progression — in individuals with ALS, but it will help inform clinical trial enrollment and potentially accelerate the pace of drug development for ALS.
“MDA is excited to support this work at Iron Horse Diagnostics, with the goal to address one of the most pressing challenges to ALS drug development — the need for prognostic biomarkers,” said MDA Scientific Program Officer Amanda M. Haidet-Phillips, Ph.D. “In addition to its usefulness in planning and conducting clinical trials, the prognostic test under development at Iron Horse could be helpful for individuals and families affected by ALS as they prepare for financial and life planning purposes and wish to have this additional information.”
The prognostic test will measure specific protein-based biomarkers in blood and cerebrospinal fluid that indicate the presence of neurodegenerative disease.
“MDA funding is critical to our efforts to finalize development of our biomarkers and to launch the test to market,” said Iron Horse Diagnostics Chief Scientific Officer Andreas Jeromin, Ph.D. “Our prognostic test will be an essential tool to enhance drug development for ALS.”
MDA has dedicated more than $363 million to ALS research and support services since 1950 and currently is funding 38 active ALS grants with a total funding commitment of $9.6 million. This year, MDA is funding 150 different research projects around the world.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral…