Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance Enters Venture Network

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) has invited nonprofit organization Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), which works nationwide to support research and find a cure for the rare neuromuscular disease Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), to join its network of organizations. The program was launched in 2005 by FasterCures and includes a total of 80 venture philanthropies.

The TRAIN program was established with the purpose of gathering disruptive innovators working in the field of medical research and offering them new resources, tools and partnerships to accelerate the development of novel treatments and cures. “At FARA, we work with a sense of urgency and a spirit of collaboration,” said the executive director of FARA, Jennifer Farmer. “We believe that the TRAIN initiative puts these important values into practice to achieve meaningful results. We are honored to be a part of this network.”

The network is used to translate innovation and research achievements for a disease such as FA into therapeutic breakthroughs that actually reach the patients. “TRAIN’s patient-driven foundations are applying entrepreneurial philanthropy to de-risk translation and commercialization of research in their respective disease areas, and are responsible for some of the most transformative ideas in R&D,” program director at FasterCures, Kristin Schneeman, stated in a press release.

The organizations included in TRAIN, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, are all focused on the same purpose of translating the discoveries made in the labs directly to the patients who suffer from rare and incurable diseases as fast as possible through the development of novel therapies.

The 80 TRAIN partners fund about $1 billion of medical research projects all together each year, while over three quarters are also working in collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate the achievement of their common goal. The network seeks to join organizations that are unique in the function, but share the mission and commitment to accountability, collaboration, research effectiveness, resource building and patient focus.

FARA is currently collaborating with Reata Pharmaceuticals and AbbVie in the study of a novel Friedreich’s ataxia therapy, which enrolled the first patient for the phase 2/3 trial last January. The clinical research “RTA 408 Capsules in Patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia – MOXIe” is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RTA 408, a new treatment based on the nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway.