CHDI Foundation: Grants for Diseases

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: CHDI offers a variety of opportunities for researchers of Huntington’s disease, but its priorities are highly directed and its guidelines are rigorous.

PROFILE: The CHDI Foundation is committed to a single issue: Huntington’s disease, a fatal hereditary condition that results in 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. In terms of funding, it has programs in Academic Research and Preclinical Biopharma Research.

CHDI’s Academic Research grants are “exclusively dedicated to collaboratively developing therapeutics that will substantially improve the lives of individuals with HD.” The foundation’s current research priorities are identified in its Major Focus Areas: Unbiased Systems-based Approaches, HTT Lowering, HTT Structure and Function, Neuronal Dysfunction, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, DNA Repair and Handling, and the recently de-prioritized Energetics and Metabolism. The foundation insists on being deeply involved with the research projects it funds: CHDI and the researcher “will enter into a research agreement that sets out a detailed project description, milestones and deliverables, and a specific budget.” The foundation’s own scientists will oversee the design of the research plan and closely monitor progress to make sure it delivers on schedule.

CHDI also offers opportunities for Preclinical Biopharma Research. The foundation is “seeking out advanced preclinical or clinical phase ligands for target validation studies in HD models and potential development as disease-modifying HD therapeutics.” Researchers who have a “compound of interest” with therapeutic potential may submit a proposal to test it with CHDI’s abundant resources. Note that the foundation does not directly fund outside research, but rather “will enter into a Compound Testing Agreement that allows us to test third-party molecules with our contract research organization (CRO) colleagues.” This program prioritizes projects that are “at or near the ‘proof-of-concept’ stage for in vivo animal testing.”

CHDI is not public about its grant values and does not have a straightforward application process. Interested grantseekers are invited to submit a brief proposal to the foundation by email at info@chdifoundation.org. CHDI has no grant cycles, but accepts these informal proposals year round on a rolling basis. If interested, the foundation will respond to these informal proposals with an invitation to submit a full proposal and budget.

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