Sotheby's in New York City is famous for dealing in works of art and antiques,but at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s (ADDF) Connoisseur’s Dinner on April 27, 2015, it was scientists on the auction block.
With Sotheby’s auctioneer Jamie Niven encouraging the charitable bidding, the lively “Fund a Scientist” auction generated more than $1 million to support the continued development of two unique Alzheimer’s drugs.
The first drug, MDA7, developed by Drs. Joseph Foss and Mohamed Naguib of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, minimizes inflammation in the brain and may block Alzheimer’s progression.
There is mounting evidence that reducing inflammation is critical to protecting the brain from the insults of Alzheimer’s.
With the money raised from the auction, Drs. Foss and Naguib hope to be able to conduct the safety research necessary to bring MDA7—which has already been tested extensively in animal models—to human clinical trials.
“We are preparing to do the safety studies required by the FDA and plan on starting our first studies in humans next year,” explains Dr. Foss. “The funding we are getting now is essential to making the drug, getting it in a form that can be administered and finding the best and safest doses to use in the clinic.”
In addition to providing critical financial support, the auction also served as a platform for Drs. Foss and Naguib to interact with potential funders as well as those affected by the devastating disease.
“Everyone is being affected, some more directly than others, and I unfortunately have seen the effects of dementia in my own family,” says Dr. Foss. “Now that I am involved in the research, not only is the science rewarding, but the support of the ADDF and its supporters also provides inspiration to continue the work.”
The ADDF bridges a critical funding gap in Alzheimer’s drug discovery research, supporting promising research projects that may be too risky or early stage to garner funding from governments and pharmaceutical companies.
“We have enough data to support exploring the effects of MDA7 in man,” said Dr. Naguib. “To quote [the ADDF’s Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer] Dr. Howard Fillit, ‘The only real test for a new Alzheimer’s treatment is in humans.’”
About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Co-founded by Ronald S. and Leonard A. Lauder of the Estée Lauder cosmetics family, the mission of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s diseases, related dementias and cognitive aging. Since its founding, the ADDF has granted more than $70 million to fund over 450 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. To learn more, visit www.AlzDiscovery.org.
NeuroTherapia is a Cleveland Clinic spin off company founded by Drs. Naguib and Foss to develop novel treatments for chronic pain and neurodegenerative diseases. MDA7 (also known as NTRX-07) is the first compound being advanced for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and neuropathic pain.