OVERVIEW: CHDI's brain research funding is centered on slowing the progression of Huntington’s disease and finding a cure. CHDI funds researchers, employs staff scientists, and partners with biotech companies.
IP TAKE: Email the foundation with a collaborative idea that connects academic research, drug discovery and clinical development. Just make sure your single goal is to accelerate therapeutics for HD when you introduce your program.
PROFILE: The CHDI Foundation is committed to a single issue: Huntington’s disease. This is a fatal hereditary condition that causes the degeneration of the brain cells, causing a person’s mind and body to deteriorate. It has no cure, and today, approximately 30,000 Americans have Huntington’s symptoms, which include personality changes, forgetfulness, involuntary movements, slurred speech, and others. Over 200,000 more are at risk of inheriting the disease.
CHDI is a privately funded biomedical research organization that aims to develop drugs to slow the progression of the disease and achieve clinical benefits. This funder supports research projects that encourage scientific collaboration to connect academic and industrial professionals. Don’t bother approaching this funder with other types of brain research causes besides HD. These are some of the common causes that CHDI supports:
- Therapeutic development.
- Drug discovery.
- Development to clinical trials.
- De-risk therapeutic approaches.
- Reduce entry barriers for researchers interested in Huntington’s disease.
- Licensing and marketing to get drugs to HD patients.
CDHI believes that collaboration can connect academic research, drug discovery and clinical development, and accordingly, it funds researchers and universities all over the world. The organization’s staff scientists manage internal drug programs and work with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs. CHDI’s team of scientists work from New York City, Los Angeles, and Princeton, New Jersey. They also work to build clinical capacity to put promising potential drugs to work for Huntington’s disease patients.
Although CHDI is interested in new ideas from the external scientific community, it is not accepting unsolicited letters of inquiry for preclinical or clinical research. Researchers, institutions, or universities that have an idea for a preclinical research proposal should contact the most appropriate CHDI science director. The foundation’s staff page lists names of directors with their area of expertise, including neurobiology, molecular pharmacology, genome engineering, and many other fields.
CDHI also offers funding directly through three fellowship programs (managed by the Huntington's Disease Society of America):
- HD Human Biology Project - This is one or two year grant of up to $75,000 per year for a young researcher (i.e. a postdoc) to collaborate with an HD clinic.
- The Donald H. King Summer Research Fellowship - This a summer fellowship for undergraduate students and first year medical students to conduct research in a university laboratory working on HD.
- Berman/Topper HD Career Development Fellowship - This is a three year fellowship to help young scientists transition to being independent scholars.
CHDI also sponsors a worldwide Huntington’s disease observational study and registry called Enroll-HD, which has participants in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The foundation’s goal with this registry is to recruit 20,000 HD family members around the world to build a research platform to enable better clinical trial recruitment.
Inquiries about a proposal idea for clinical studies may be sent here. All proposal ideas should accelerate therapeutics for HD. CHDI makes agreements with academic institutions to support the work of faculty members, post-doctoral fellows and technical staff. On a case-by-case basis, the foundation considers support for graduate students, too. Details about the foundation’s policies, including sharing, publication, reimbursement, financial support, and academic overhead, can be viewed on CHDI’s website.
General inquiries can be sent here, or made by phone to the New York office (212-239-9300), the Los Angeles office (310-342-5500,) or the Princeton office (609-945-9600). There are quite a few project managers and directors for specific scientific fields on the CHDI staff list. Check the foundation’s News and Events pages to keep up with recent happenings and stay in tune with what CHDI is most interested in.
- Robi Blumenstein, President