For Immediate Release
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Feinstein Kean Healthcare
Robert McBurney Named CEO of the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis
McBurney Brings Extensive Background in Neuroscience and Biotechnology to Leading Non-Profit Dedicated to Curing Multiple Sclerosis
(Waltham, MA - July 12, 2011) -- The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP), a national nonprofit organization, today announced that it has named Robert McBurney, Ph.D., as its Chief Executive Officer. Dr. McBurney brings a wealth of expertise to this role, which will be instrumental to the organization in its goal of advancing the progress of new therapies, technologies, treatment strategies, and ultimately cures for multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. McBurney takes over as CEO for Peter Schmidt who served as interim CEO for the past six months.
The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to curing MS by facilitating research into its causes and mechanisms. ACP has accelerated the pace of MS research by building a repository of high quality, well-characterized biological samples from MS subjects and controls. Consistent with the organization's mission to facilitate collaboration and information exchange that will lead to new insights, ACP makes samples in its repository readily available to scientists across multiple disciplines as long as they in turn share data and results with the collective database. To date, ACP has enrolled more than 2,700 subjects into the repository through a network of 10 MS clinical centers. The samples provided by these subjects have supported more than 50 research studies that so far have generated 18 data sets that are contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of MS.
Dr. McBurney's career has spanned basic and clinical research in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, both in academia and in the biopharmaceutical industry. At Cambridge University (UK), the National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Medical School of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK), he conducted research on the cellular mechanisms underlying the operation of the nervous system in health and disease.
In 1987, Dr. McBurney left academia to join Boston-based biotechnology company Cambridge NeuroScience where he remained for 13 years, moving into the role of President and CEO. During his time at Cambridge NeuroScience, Dr. McBurney and his team discovered a protein which has proved to have potential as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. In the past 10 years, he has held senior executive positions at leading biopharmaceutical companies including CeNeS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., BG Medicine, Inc. and TheraGenetics, Ltd., and co-founded two biotechnology companies, Differential Proteomics, Inc. and Optimal Medicine, Ltd.
"For the majority of my career, I have been focused on identifying, studying and advancing treatments that can impact some of the most debilitating known diseases of the nervous system. My dedication to this cause aligns with the Accelerated Cure Project's novel approach to facilitating research through a highly scientific, collaborative, open-access model," said Dr. McBurney. "With my experience in neuroscience research, biomarker discovery, clinical decision support and the management of biotech companies, I am confident we will be able to propel ACP to new heights and one day contribute to a cure for multiple sclerosis."
Dr. McBurney has published nearly 100 articles on neuroscience, biomarker discovery and systems biology, and currently serves as member of the Board of Trustees for the F.W. Olin College of Engineering where he helped shape the college's focus on preparing students to become exemplary engineering innovators. He has also been a member of the PhRMA Foundation Bioinformatics Grant Review Committee since 2008.
"We are thrilled to have Robert join and lead the team at the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis," said David Blohm, Chairman of ACP's Board of Directors. "Our ultimate goal is to accelerate the cure for MS and help people suffering from this disease to find relief from the most advanced treatment options available. Robert brings an unparalleled combination of scientific knowledge, bioinformatics expertise and clinical support to ACP, and his experience in biotechnology and neuroscience provdes us with a distinct advantage to mine our current data and contribute new insights to the race for a cure for MS."
Initiated in 2006, the cornerstone of the ACP's scientific program is the MS Repository, which has provided samples and data to 43 different scientific teams. Research based on repository samples and data is being performed at institutions such as Harvard School of Public Health, Stanford Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins University, as well as at biotech and pharmaceutical companies that are working to bring new MS-related therapeutic and diagnostic products to market. In addition, ACP has joined forces with Mass General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) to develop the MS Discovery Forum, an on-line community to spark discussion and ideas among MS scientists, which is expected to launch later in 2011.
About Accelerated Cure Project
Accelerated Cure Project for MS (ACP) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate efforts toward a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) by rapidly advancing research that determines its causes and mechanisms. We provide biomedical researchers with resources that catalyze open scientific collaboration and enable them to explore their novel research ideas rapidly and cost-efficiently. ACP’s strategic initiatives include the Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum and the ACP Repository, a large-scale collection of highly-characterized biosamples available to scientists at any organization conducting research that contributes to our mission. All results generated through analysis of Repository samples and data are contributed back to the ACP Repository Database, resulting in an increasingly valuable and comprehensive information resource that can be analyzed to reveal new insights about MS. To date, ACP has enrolled almost 3,000 participants into the Repository through a network of 10 MS clinical centers across the United States. The samples provided by people with MS and related disorders have supported more than 60 research studies worldwide and generated more than 150 million returned data points.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis 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 US 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.