February 25, 2012
One of the biggest challenges facing the MPN Research Foundation in its mission to broaden and accelerate MPN research is raising enough dollars to really make a difference. With NIH and other sources cutting back on funding for medical research in general, our contribution to MPN science and scientists becomes more and more critical. We have historically relied on donations from individuals, more specifically MPN patients, families and friends, to make our grants. But although recent data indicates there are more MPN patients than have previously been estimated, the pool of affected individuals limits the amount of money we can raise. In addition, major medical centers which are now focusing on MPN research are also drawing individual donations, and while we applaud the emergence of these centers there are many qualified investigators and exciting research that will not be funded if we do not continue to pursue our mission.
We have long considered the potential of raising money from industry – specifically the biotech and pharmaceutical industry – to augment the funds we have available for research. There are many important issues to think about, including our commitment to product and company neutrality for our current Statement of Neutrality with respect to the bio/pharma industry), the privacy of our data, and respect for the privacy pre-publication data for our academic investigators. But public/private partnerships are becoming more common and more necessary to bring the academic discoveries to patients. We have consulted other foundations which are also considering these issues, and have concluded that we cannot ignore this potential source of research funding.
We are therefore happy to announce that two major pharmaceutical companies (Incyte Corporation and Sanofi Oncology) have agreed to join our research effort by donating funds which will be used to augment the money we raise from individuals. There are no goods, services or rights to be provided by the MPN Research Foundation in return for these donations, and the companies will not be involved in the solicitation or review of grant proposals or in the selection of grants to be awarded. We will recognize these companies as donors to our grant programs, and hope that over time more companies will join the ranks as Industry Partners of the Foundation. We also hope that our increasingly collegial relationships with these companies will allow us to actively bridge the gap between academia and industry, so that the research we fund actually reaches the patients we support as new and effective treatments.
We will continue to rely on patients to drive our mission forward, and to help us steer the course of our funding to the most critical areas of research. We will work closely with our many MPN partner organizations to make sure that the patient’s voice is strongly heard in the advancement of MPN science. We look forward to working with you all and to the day when all MPN patients have effective treatments available to them.