New York-based Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is expanding its data analytics partnership with Philly’s Blackfynn, which since 2018 has provided the platform for the foundation’s international clinical study, Parkinson’s Progression Marker Initiative.
Now, the two organizations announced, the Blackfynn platform will also be used to empower researchers in the foundation-sponsored Fox Insight Study, an online study that has enrolled some 30,000 people with Parkinson’s disease.
No financial terms of the deal were immediately disclosed.
“Currently there is no unified database for neurodegenerative diseases broadly,” said Amanda Christini, president of Blackfynn. “Given the overlap between certain phenotypes amongst these diseases, it may be possible to identify common mechanisms as targets for drugs. Blackfynn is working with expert partners to build a single, curated database focused on neurodegenerative disease broadly, and coupling this with its novel data platform to massively accelerate discovery in the field.”
SVP of Engineering Chris Baglieri said the company’s relationship with the Fox Foundation is “strong and continues to grow.” He also helped illustrate the relevance of the expansion, and what it ultimately could mean for the scientific community.
“The Fox Insight initiative amasses tens of thousands patients worth of data; data leads to understanding the mechanism of disease, understanding mechanism leads to better therapeutics, better therapeutics leads to the mission of the Fox Foundation, to cure Parkinson’s Disease,” Baglieri said in an email.
Blackfynn, which in 2017 received $2.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, currently employs 30 people, roughly half of whom are in product engineering, site reliability and design.
“Our focus remains the same,” Baglieri said. “Building the world’s best and most impactful neurodegenerative data ecosystem to help our partners and us drive novel therapeutics which ultimately lead to cures. As you can imagine, this takes time.”
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