Robert J. Beall, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
This fall is an exciting time for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Our fund-raising and volunteer efforts across the nation are stronger than ever before, and our work to keep our drug pipeline well stocked with potential compounds is yielding promising results.
In this issue of Commitment, you will learn about the tremendous advances we have recently made in research. In August alone, our collaborations with Gilead Sciences, Parion Sciences and EPIX Pharmaceuticals took great steps forward. Nearly two years after EPIX first began working with the Foundation, the company has identified a hit compound that corrects the functionality of CFTR.
In addition, Parion Sciences and Gilead Sciences, one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, are teaming up, thanks to the CF Foundation, to develop Parion 680, a compound that could become an important new drug in treating the basic defect in CF. Most exciting is news, as Commitment went to press, that CF patients have begun participating in a Phase 2 trial of a compound developed by Vertex—the first oral drug candidate directed toward treating ion transport defects of CFTR.
Also reported in this issue is news of our continued efforts to promote clinical trial participation, which remains vitally important to the future of CF drug development. To meet the need for clinical trials already underway, we need to double the number of current participants by 2009. To ensure that future studies are fully supported, the CF Foundation is committed to spreading awareness about this important issue and providing care centers the resources they need to conduct trials.
These are just a few of the latest exciting examples of our progress—progress made possible because of your hard work raising money for CF. After 19 years, we remain grateful for your continued efforts to make GREAT STRIDES better and more successful than ever before. This year’s GREAT STRIDES teams found new ways to expand their reach and help make the fund-raising walk into a national event. By drawing new supporters and creating multiple teams across the country, volunteers helped raise an amazing $35 million.
The generosity of our volunteers—many who do not have a direct connection to cystic fibrosis—has also boosted Milestones to a Cure, our major giving campaign dedicated to expanding support for therapeutics development. By reaching out to friends and colleagues, the campaign now has more than $113 million in commitments. With your continued support, we know we are sure to reach our $175 million goal by the end of 2010.
I hope that you will take a few moments to read more about our latest achievements and our ongoing efforts to ensure that progress continues. With these amazing developments, we hope that you are as excited and optimistic about the future as we are. Together, we are adding tomorrows every day to the lives of those with CF.
Robert J. Beall, Ph.D.