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News & Events : Press Releases

February 21, 2017


FORMA Therapeutics receives grant from MJFF and expands translational research into neurodegenerative diseases through alliance with University of Liverpool and Medical Research Council


WATERTOWN, Mass. – February 21, 2017 – FORMA Therapeutics, a clinical-stage and fully integrated discovery and development company, announced today it has been awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (“MJFF”) to further develop FORMA’s discovery program in protein homeostasis and ubiquitination for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). FORMA has established a research alliance with Professors Michael Clague and Sylvie Urbé from University of Liverpool, UK, and Dr. David Komander from Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, who will work alongside FORMA’s lead investigator, Dr. Stephanos Ioannidis, to advance the research plan subject to this prestigious award.

“We are honored to receive recognition from MJFF for our research in protein homeostasis and to collaborate with its network in PD. This award provides support to further enable innovative research with our talented collaborators in the UK.”

Protein homeostasis and mitochondrial function are areas of biology that harbor promising new therapeutic targets for the treatment of PD. Recent research suggests that members of the deubiquitinase (DUB) family of proteins, which are critical in protein homeostasis, are also key modulators of mitophagy or mitochondrial clearance. The elimination of abnormal mitochondria by targeting DUB activity may be a route to intervene in the pathogenesis of PD. The grant from MJFF supports the advanced discovery and development of preclinical compounds targeting DUBs potentially relevant to PD.

Shalini Padmanabhan, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research Programs at MJFF, said, “While accumulating evidence implicate defective mitochondria in PD pathology, exactly how DUBs regulate mitophagy is unclear. We hope this award will enable FORMA and its neurodegenerative disease alliance with leading investigators to understand the role of DUBs in clearance of damaged mitochondria and potentially lead to a promising treatment approach for PD patients.”

“We are honored to receive recognition from MJFF for our research in protein homeostasis and to collaborate with its network in PD. This award provides support to further enable innovative research with our talented collaborators in the UK,” said John Hohneker, M.D., EVP and Head of Research and Development at FORMA. “We hope to gain a deeper understanding of the role of DUBs in PD that will ultimately facilitate the advancement of new therapies for patients.”

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation

As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $650 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.


FORMA Therapeutics' scientists are passionate about discovering and developing medicines that will make a difference in oncology, inflammation & immunity, and other serious diseases. The Company’s fully integrated R&D team drives discovery and early clinical development of therapeutics for qualified targets in the areas of epigenetics, protein homeostasis and metabolism. Leveraging a world class network of academic investigators, clinical experts and partners, FORMA combines deep biology insight, chemistry expertise and early clinical development capabilities, to create drug candidates that will ultimately provide profound patient benefit.

FORMA is headquartered in Watertown, MA near the epicenter of the Cambridge Life Sciences cluster, with additional chemistry operations in Branford, CT.

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Media Contact

For FORMA Therapeutics
Kari Watson +1 781-235-3060
MacDougall Biomedical Communications