Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis Partners with Leading Organizations in an Alliance to Find New MS Treatments

Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis Partners with Leading Organizations in an Alliance to Find New MS Treatments
Launch of Orion Bionetworks Aims to Fundamentally Change How Researchers Search for Cures

WALTHAM, Mass., Mar 04, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP-MS) today announced the launch of Orion Bionetworks, a multi-institution cooperative alliance that is unlocking the power of shared data and predictive modeling to help transform our understanding of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and accelerate the search for cures.

Orion Bionetworks is a program of the Marin Community Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, and is funded by Janssen Research & Development, LLC, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, which has provided a $5.4 million scientific sponsorship as part of its Healthy Minds program for the first phase of this effort. Initially, this cooperative alliance will focus on integrating clinical, biomarker and imaging data with rich real-world patient data from existing, independent databases of over 7,000 people with MS into a causal computational disease model.

"We are delighted to collaborate with such a dynamic group of innovators to launch Orion Bionetworks," said Robert McBurney, Chief Executive Officer of ACP-MS. "Orion is demonstrating that a predictive disease modeling alliance that uses real-world patient data can have an unprecedented ability to drive toward better treatments and, ultimately, cures for multiple sclerosis and other devastating brain disorders. Our involvement in the alliance is a direct result of the remarkable effort that ACP-MS, the staff of 10 MS clinics nationwide, and people with MS and related diseases have made to create the open-access ACP Repository of biosamples and data."

ACP-MS will be contributing to the alliance its expertise in MS and experience with its innovative approach to highly collaborative research in MS and related disorders. Additionally, it will provide extensive clinical and epidemiological data from over 3,000 participants in the Repository program along with the almost 300 million molecular data points returned, to date, to the Repository database from the many academic and industrial research groups that have undertaken research with the Repository's biosamples and data.

ACP-MS will work closely with other leading organizations in patient care, computational modeling and translational research participating in the alliance, including the Institute for Neurosciences at Brigham and Women's Hospital, GNS Healthcare, MetaCell, and PatientsLikeMe. As part of Orion Bionetworks, ACP-MS will have access to the combined datasets and expertise of all members of the alliance and is receiving support from Orion to undertake data-mining activities in search of new knowledge that will lead to improved treatments and cures for MS and related disorders.

"Complex diseases such as MS require novel research approaches and large scale collaborations," said Benjamin Greenberg, MD, MHS, Deputy Director of the MS Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and ACP-MS Advisory Board Member. "The ACP Repository serves as an outstanding resource and its partnership with Orion will undoubtedly yield extremely useful insights into this complicated disease."

Additional information on the Orion Bionetworks and partnership opportunities is available on the organization's website, www.orionbionetworks.org.

About Multiple Sclerosis

MS is a chronic demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system that often results in severe disability including the inability to walk, blindness, cognitive dysfunction, extreme fatigue, and other serious symptoms. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States and two million individuals worldwide. The disorder occurs twice as often in women as in men. What causes MS is undetermined and no cure has yet been developed.

About Accelerated Cure Project for MS (ACP-MS)

ACP-MS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate research efforts to improve the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), to cure the disease and, ultimately, prevent it.

ACP-MS believes that research is the only way to greatly improve the outlook for people with MS. The organization promotes scientific collaboration and accelerates research by rapidly and cost-effectively providing researchers with data and biospecimens they need to explore novel research ideas that can lead to better care for people with MS. Its strategic initiatives include:

-- The OPT-UP Program: A large-scale, real-world treatment outcomes clinical study and collaborative research program to optimize treatment of MS and understand progressive disability;

-- The ACP Repository: A collection of highly characterized biosamples and data from over 3,000 subjects, available to any scientists conducting research that can positively impact people with MS; and,

-- The Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum: An online community connecting, educating and challenging researchers (www.msdiscovery.org).

The organization's innovative approach enables MS research to advance rapidly and catalyzes collaborative efforts toward a significant impact on this devastating disease. Its resources have supported 70 research studies worldwide and generated almost 300 million returned data points for collaborative data mining and disease modeling. To learn more about the focus, activities and impact of ACP-MS, please visit www.acceleratedcure.org.