7th May 2021
The International Progressive MS Alliance has received an iDEA (innovations in Data Exploration and Analytics) Award from biopharmaceutical company Sanofi to support the Collaborative Research Network led by Professor Douglas Arnold. The network is working to develop a biomarker using artificial intelligence with magnetic resonance images (MRIs) that could quickly test whether a new potential treatment is effective. Such an advancement would address a major barrier in current treatment development in progressive MS.
“We are grateful to Sanofi for this important award and honored to be recognized. Their investment in the cutting-edge research of this Collaborative Research Network will further accelerate our work in developing potentially new and effective treatments for people with progressive MS – an urgent, unmet need,” stated Professor Alan Thompson, Chair of the Alliance Scientific Steering Committee.
The Collaborative Research Network led by Professor Arnold is one of three international networks funded by the Alliance. It brings together researchers from Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Having assembled more than 72,000 MRI scans, it is working to develop imaging tools and computer programs that will predict changes in the brain as MS progresses and provide any understanding of how progression affects the brain. The tools could be used to evaluate whether a potential treatment is working and ultimately help provide customized treatment in the clinic setting.
The Sanofi iDEA Awards initiative is part of an effort by the company to build relationships and help solve some of the biggest challenges in drug design and clinical development. Launched in late 2017, this initiative provides competitive, 1-year seed-funding to award recipients across North America. Funding opportunities include designing potential first-in-class, best-in-class therapeutics, predicting and following disease trajectory and drug performance, enriching clinical trials with the right patients, and establishing objective clinical outcome measures.
“It’s great to be able to accelerate world-class science through the Sanofi iDEA awards and key partnerships like this” said Dr. Erik Wallstroem, Therapeutic Area Head for MS, Neurology and Gene Therapy.
Sanofi is also a member of the International Progressive MS Alliance Industry Forum, a group of industry experts from leading MS biopharmaceutical companies that provides advice and recommendations to the Scientific Steering Committee. The companies also provide financial support and other resources to advance the mission of the Alliance.
More information about the Sanofi iDEA Awards: https://www.sanofi.us/en/innovation-and-science/partnering-initiatives/sanofi-idea-awards
About the International Progressive MS Alliance
The Alliance exists to accelerate the development of effective treatments for people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis to improve quality of life worldwide. It is an unprecedented global collaboration of MS organizations, researchers, health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, companies, trusts, foundations, donors and people affected by progressive MS, working together to address the unmet needs of people with progressive MS ─ rallying the global community to find solutions. Our promise is more than hope, it is progress.