The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) and the Van Andel Institute (VAI) are delighted to announce a new three-year co-funding agreement that pledges USD $4.5 million to Parkinson’s research, strengthening an already long-standing partnership.

This funding will support the International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) initiative, a thriving global programme that aims to develop new, potentially disease-modifying Parkinson’s therapies, many of which are repurposed medications originally designed or approved to treat other diseases.

Candidate drugs are evaluated and prioritised annually by a committee of world-leading Parkinson’s experts, who select which drugs should enter clinical trials in people with Parkinson’s. These drugs have the potential to reach the clinic much faster as they have already passed all necessary safety tests.

Currently, 15 trials of drugs evaluated by the committee are underway and seven trials have been completed. In addition, a further 10 trials are in the planning stages. To date, iLCT has included more than 2500 trial participants. Since its inception in 2012, CPT’s and VAI’s involvement has ensured that each year the iLCT initiative goes from strength to strength as progressively more clinical trials of potentially disease-modifying drugs are brought into the programme. Find out more about the iLCT programme.

The iLCT initiative has already shown positive results, most recently in the phase II clinical trial of ambroxol led by Professor Anthony Schapira of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. Ambroxol is one drug that was prioritised by the iLCT committee in 2014. In addition to the new funding for the iLCT programme, VAI and CPT together with the John Black Charitable Foundation have agreed to co-fund the next phase in the programme of research into ambroxol to facilitate the drug into phase III trials. The first step, led by Professor Schapira, is to determine the optimal dose of the drug. Read more about the ambroxol phase ll trial.

Professor Patrik Brundin (pictured above right with CPT CEO Will Cook), Chair of the International Linked Clinical Trials committee and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at VAI said:

We are thrilled to continue our long-standing collaboration with The Cure Parkinson’s Trust on the International Linked Clinical Trials initiative and look forward to expanding our programme to evaluate additional promising medications in the coming years. We are especially grateful to the trial participants, without whom this critical work would not be possible. I am immensely hopeful that, together, we will find a way to slow or stop Parkinson’s progression.

Dr Richard Wyse, Director of Research & Development at CPT said:

The massive clinical undertaking involving so many drugs repurposed from other therapeutic areas is unique not only in neurology, but is larger than any drug repositioning programme, whether academic or commercial, in any other disease. The partnership between VAI and CPT bears testament to the principle of collaboration and we look forward to continuing and growing this partnership in the years ahead.

Read the Full Press Release here.