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Bringing the NINDS translational research program to its full potential: NINDS launches new funding programs

Developing treatments for nervous system disorders requires creative and effective harvesting of basic science discoveries, the translation of those discoveries into potential therapies, and the testing of those therapies in the clinic. More and better treatments are urgently needed, and we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our ability to meet this need. Recently, we wrote about the need to support studies on the structure and function of the normal brain and nervous system; understanding the healthy system is critical if we are to elucidate and address neurological disorders. Given the challenges of successfully translating basic science into treatments, especially those that target the brain, we were inspired to rethink how we can support researchers to develop their potential therapies to the point where the biotech/pharma industry will invest the time and money required to optimize them and then test them in the clinic. While many investigators seem to feel the need to link their research projects to disease, only some of these linkages create exciting leads that should be aggressively pursued. Our goal is to help investigators identify the most promising projects and provide user-friendly programs to support those with real potential to become treatments by creating a seamless path of support across the therapy development pipeline.

The Office of Translational Research (OTR) at NINDS just rolled out two new programs, CREATE (Cooperative Research to Enable and Advance Translational Enterprises) Bio and CREATE Devices, and updated a third, the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network for small molecules. The programs offer investigators in academia and small companies funding support and, in some cases, access to expert biotech industry consultants and therapy development infrastructure. They also provide significant flexibility by offering multiple entry points along the development pathway—from discovery to preclinical development to small clinical trials. Each of the three programs features a parallel small-business track as well. Taken together, our programs will enable investigators to move their projects forward and remove some of the risk out of the process of translating basic science discoveries into treatments that can be used in humans.

Overall, we anticipate the new and updated Blueprint and CREATE programs will help investigators build collaborations with industry partners, provide opportunities for small businesses, and ultimately enable important therapies for neurologic diseases to get to market more quickly.

For more details, please read this blog post and visit the CREATE program and Blueprint Neurotherapeutics websites.

Last Modified August 15, 2014