Cure SMA and Other Venture Philanthropy Leaders Share Insight at Partnering for Cures Panel

Cure SMA President Kenneth Hobby was a featured panelist at Partnering for Cures, a conference convened by the Milken Institute’s FasterCures initiative. At the event, over 700 research innovators—including senior government officials, patient advocates, scientists, major investors, industry CEOs and philanthropists—gathered to discuss some of the most common barriers to speeding up innovation in medical research, and how those barriers can be collaboratively overcome.

Kenneth was joined by Christopher Austin (Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health), Annie Kennedy (Senior Vice President, Legislation & Public Policy, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy), Todd Sherer (CEO, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research), and moderator Louis DeGennaro (President and CEO, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).

The panel was part of the “Disruptors’ Academy,” a series of town-hall sessions on how organizations can thoughtfully and creatively disrupt old patterns and find new ways to move medical innovation forward. The panel addressed questions including: How do foundations prioritize among the competing opportunities to invest their time and resources, from continuing to support basic science to investing in start-up companies through influencing the approval and reimbursement process? Does the recent focus across the ecosystem on patient-centeredness provide a unique opportunity? What capacity needs to be built in the sector?

The panel also discussed the current landscape and future opportunities for organizations like Cure SMA, as they partner with scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory agencies, working to bring a drug all the way from a basic research seed idea up through FDA approval.

Cure SMA’s Approach to Innovations

Cure SMA’s model is based on two primary objectives: aggressive yet strategic investment in all aspects of the research process, and the creation of partnerships between the patient and family community, researchers and pharmaceutical and biotech partners, and regulatory agencies like the FDA—all with the goal of developing safe and effective treatments for SMA.

Earlier this year, Cure SMA joined the TRAIN project within FasterCures. The goal of TRAIN is to connect disruptive innovators in the disease research space with the vital resources, tools and relationships to catalyze development of new therapies and cures. Through the network, innovation in one disease area is translated to another in order to achieve treatment breakthroughs for all.

Our work with TRAIN gives us the opportunity to both learn from and share our expertise with other organizations who have that same commitment to innovative solutions

Our thanks to FasterCures and the Partnering for Cures team for putting on such a great event, and for inviting Cure SMA to be a part of it. And thank you to our fellow panelists for sharing their expertise as well.

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