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MJ FF to fund clinical trial involving Parkinson's patients with dementia

Michael J. Fox
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) has signed a $2 million research agreement with Biotie Therapies to conduct a clinical study investigating SYN120 in Parkinson's disease patients with dementia. SYN120 is described as a “dual antagonist of 5-HT6 and 5-HT2a receptors and these two distinct modes of action could result in a unique therapeutic profile for SYN120 combining pro-cognitive and antipsychotic activities,” stated Biotie CEO Timo Veromaa, who went on to stress the need to find safe and effective treatments for patients with Parkinson’s who also suffer from dementia.

"We look forward to collaborating with MJFF and the Parkinson Study Group to advance SYN120 into a Phase 2 trial later this year,” he added.

The grant will be used to fund a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial involving 80 Parkinson’s patients with dementia for a period of 4 months, conducted by the Parkinson Study group in approximately 10 different sites throughout the US. The primary focus of the test will be to establish SYN120’s efficacy on cognition using the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) Computerized Cognition Battery as the primary efficacy endpoint. Biotie will share responsibility with PSG to design and execute this study.

Although beloved actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, the star of television shows such as “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” as well as several motion pictures including three “Back to the Future,” movies, “Doc Hollywood,” and “The Secret to My Success,” etc. did not disclose his condition until 1998. Then, after completing his 100th episode of “Spin City,” he announced that he was retiring from the weekly series to devote his energy to forming the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which now remains the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development in the world. While he continues to accept a limited amount of acting roles, his main priority is to continue search for a cure.

To learn more about the deal with Biotie visit

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