• Gupta Family Endowed Prize for Innovation in ALS Care

    Due date for nominations is July 2, 2021

    The Gupta Family Endowed Prize for Innovation in ALS Care is a global prize to honor ground-breaking new approaches that lead to exceptional care for individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This annual prize is awarded to a nominated team who has developed promising new approaches to improving care for people living with ALS. The goal of this prize is to encourage idea sharing, innovation, and forward-thinking on scalable ongoing and ground-breaking projects that have directly improved ALS patient care.

    The Gupta Family Endowed Prize was established in 2021 at the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General under the direction of Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, Chief of Neurology at Mass General.

    Prize Criteria

    The 2021 Gupta Family Endowed Prize is accepting global nominations for teams that made a significant impact on ALS care. There are no limits on the types of solutions to improve care. Examples of ALS care innovation include but are not limited to assistive technology, multidisciplinary care, communication and education, trials, nutrition.

    • The project nominated should be realized and ongoing as well as scalable to reach a larger group of people living with ALS within 1 year. 
    • Nominees should have a touchpoint with patients and/or caregivers.
    • Nominations are accepted from all but preference will be given to projects led by junior investigators/teams/clinicians.
    • Nominations do not have to be from an academic institution. 
    • We strongly discourage multiple nominations for the same team as one will suffice. 
    • While self-nominations are allowed, nominations by others are preferred.

    Selection

    The awardees will be selected by members of the Gupta family, Healey Center Scientific Advisory Council, NEALS PEACe Committee and advisors who have ALS.

    Timeline for Submission

    Release Date: May 7, 2021

    Nomination Due Date: July 2, 2021

    Notification to successful candidate: August 2021

    Presentation of award: 2021 Annual NEALS Meeting, October 6-8, 2021.                 

    Download Nomination form here

    Submit completed nomination form and supporting documents as a single PDF to healeycenterforals@mgh.harvard.edu

    Award: $20,000 USD

    To learn more about the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS click here

  • 3rd Annual Healey Center International Prize for Innovation in ALS

    Due date for nominations is July 16, 2021

    The last decade has seen unprecedented advances in our understanding of the biology of the disease, an exponential increase in novel targets, and innovative approaches to developing therapies. The annual Healey Center International Prize for Innovation in ALS is a global prize celebrating excellence in research for a team of investigators who catalyze exceptional discoveries leading to a transformative advance in therapy development in ALS. 

    Sean M. Healey, executive chairman of Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. (AMG) joined AMG when it was a start-up in 1995 and together with his founding colleagues built the firm into one of the largest global asset management companies with over $830 billion under management – AMG is NYSE-listed and a component of the S&P 500. Prior to AMG, Sean began his career as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department at Goldman Sachs.

    Mr. Healey was diagnosed with ALS in May 2018. Following his diagnosis, he took a step back from his long-time role of Chairman and CEO at AMG to aggressively pursue treatment at the guidance of his doctor, Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, Chief of Neurology at Mass General. Together, with his company and friends, he established the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General.

    Prize Criteria

    Team of investigators who made a significant advance in the ALS field impacting the development of novel therapies for ALS, including, but not limited to the following:

    • A technology to identify novel targets for drug development
    • A technology to advance therapy development for ALS
    • Tools or targets to stratify the ALS population and improve clinical trial design
    • A global, multiple disciplinary collaboration that leads to new insights into the biology of the disease and translates into novel approaches for therapy development
    • A novel outcome measure to improve efficiency in clinical trials in patients with ALS

    Timeline for Submission

    Release Date: May 14, 2021

    Nomination Due Date: July 16, 2021

    Notification to successful candidate: September 2021

    Presentation of award: Virtual 32nd International Symposium on ALS/MND December 2021                

    Download Nomination Form here

    Submit completed nomination form and supporting documents as a single PDF to healeycenterforals@mgh.harvard.edu

    Award: $50,000 USD

    To learn more about the Annual Healey International Prize for Innovation in ALS recipients click here

    To learn more about the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS click here

  • MDA Request for Applications: Drug Development in Neuromuscular Disease

    MDA Venture Philanthropy

    MDA Venture Philanthropy (MVP) is the Muscular Dystrophy Association's drug development program, which operates within MDA's Translational Research program. MVP is exclusively focused on funding the discovery and clinical application of treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases.

    Adapting elements of the venture capital model, the MVP business plan is characterized by an emphasis on measurable results along with deep involvement by its scientific and industry advisers. MVP evaluates and makes targeted investments in for-profit and not-for-profit companies and academics developing therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases.

    Building upon MDA's long-term investment in research and health care, MVP is designed to complement MDA's ongoing programs of health care, lifesaving services, advocacy, basic and clinical research, and professional and public health information. MVP also benefits from MDA's other research programs that support basic research, clinical trials and research infrastructure.

    Business Plan

    A strategy for lowering barriers to therapeutic development: MVP leverages MDA's years of expertise in research into nerve and muscle biology to create a unique environment to foster translation of research into therapies. Dedicated staff scientists track research developments from MDA's basic research program and from the scientific community as a whole and match the most promising ideas with drug development companies capable of developing such therapies. Where companies have promising therapeutics, MVP helps match the company with disease experts to expedite and streamline development. Where academic projects need more data before they will be attractive to a corporate partner, MVP helps match the researcher with experts in drug development. As a "partner" and not just a funder, MVP will help to cultivate follow-on investors, while its access to patients, experts and research infrastructure can offset some costs of drug development.  

    Bridging the high-risk stages of therapy development: MVP makes targeted investments in projects for which the therapeutic of interest is unlikely to advance via traditional funding avenues due to the perceived risk of a small market, lack of a clear regulatory path or new technology. MVP funds are leveraged to aid getting projects through the critical stages of development to ensure that successful therapies attract funding from other sources and get to market. Co-investors and follow-on funders with complementary skills are cultivated actively in the form of venture capital groups, other nonprofits, and larger biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Exit points for MVP funding may include the situations in which 1) a therapeutic progresses to phase III or is approved; or 2) significant funding from follow-on investor(s) is received. Return on investment strategies for MVP may include revenue sharing from licensing agreements or commercialization of the therapeutic, or less commonly, sales of preferred stock.

    MVP uses elements of the venture capital model: MVP uses an iterative evaluation process that reviews the science, management, financials, legal issues and intellectual property of the company or project. MVP holds monthly teleconferences open to its advisers at which decisions to advance projects to the next stage of evaluation are made. In addition to the diverse qualifications of MVP's program staff, advisory committees and ad hoc scientific experts, MVP may utilize well-established outside contractors for formal financial and legal diligence. MVP manages its grants as if they were investments such that funding commitments are structured as milestone-driven contracts.

    A unique blend of staff, contractors and volunteers: MVP has access to a unique set of expertise that it uses to select projects to invest in and to manage those projects. The scientific advisers consist of experts in neuromuscular disease research, neuromuscular medicine, biotechnology venture capital investment and drug development. MVP staff scientists work with these volunteers to select projects with the best possible chance of success, and to act as advisers as those projects move forward. MVP uses its business advisers and outside contractors for legal and financial diligence and for contract negotiation, ensuring that MVP invests only in projects likely to have the greatest possible impact. The business advisers are volunteers with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, biotechnology investing, investment banking and corporate development.

    For information, visit the MDA website: https://www.mda.org/research/mda-venture-philanthropy