ARTICLE | Strategy

The ALS bucket brigade

October 30, 2014 7:00 AM UTC

Now that the ice has thawed from the ALS ice bucket challenge, the question is how to spend the more than $100 million donated to The ALS Association after the campaign went viral this summer. Last month, the association answered with plans to use the first $21.7 million to seed 4 research alliances that will identify biomarkers, create patient cell repositories, accelerate clinical programs and mine the genomes of patients with ALS for new genetic associations and targets.

In ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), progressive degeneration of motor neurons leads to complete loss of muscle control and paralysis within three years of symptom onset. The only marketed treatment for the disease is Rilutek riluzole from Sanofi and Covis Pharma S.a.r.l., a small molecule glutamate antagonist that slows damage to motor neurons...