Thursday 18 April 2019

Actor Fox's foundation gives $1m funding to Irish drug firm

Michael J Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan
Michael J Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

AN IRISH drug firm has received $1m (€885,000) in funding from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Dublin-based Inflazome was set up by academics Professor Luke O'Neill, from Trinity College, and Professor Matt Cooper, from the University of Queensland, in 2016.

The grant will be used to support the development of a brain imaging probe for diagnosing patients, as well as the development of drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including the two most common, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

In Ireland, around 55,000 people suffer from dementia, the most widespread form of which is Alzheimer's.

There are approximately 12,000 people living with Parkinson's here.

According to the company, scientific data indicates that the NLRP3 inflammasome is overactive in a broad range of serious medical conditions driven by harmful inflammation.

These diseases include neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular diseases.

Prof Cooper, who is also chief executive of Inflazome, said yesterday: "The Michael J Fox Foundation is a fantastic organisation with a passionate commitment to new science, science translation and candidate therapies for Parkinson's.

"We are fully aligned in our shared goal to help patients with Parkinson's and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases, for which there are inadequate therapies and no cures."

The news of the funding from the foundation comes after the company completed a €40m Series B funding round last November.

Best known for his role in the 'Back to the Future' film series, Michael J Fox (57) was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991.

In 2000, the actor established the foundation bearing his name.

To date, the foundation has ploughed more than $800m (€707m) into funding research.

Irish Independent

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