Myelin Repair Foundation

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The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Saratoga, California. The organization applies a collaborative business model to the process of medical research with the aim of accelerating the identification and development of new patient treatments. MRF's goal is to license its first drug target for commercial drug development by July 1, 2009, five years after the organization began funding research.[1]

The MRF was created by entrepreneur Scott Johnson in 2002, and began funding research in 2004.[2]

On June 22, 2015, the Foundation announced that due to a lack of financing, it will begin the process of winding down.[3]


The Myelin Repair Foundation was founded in 2002 by Scott Johnson, a California entrepreneur. Johnson had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 20. When given his prognosis, he was told that an effective therapy would probably not be on the market for another 30 to 50 years. “If someone is diagnosed now…they’d probably hear the same thing,” Johnson says. “And that’s pretty frustrating.” [4]

As a result of his dissatisfaction with the status quo, and out of his desire to see a new treatment for multiple sclerosis, Johnson created the Myelin Repair Foundation, a not-for-profit with a business-inspired research model.

The ARC Model[edit]

The MRF conducts research according to the Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) model, which also guides the organization’s goals and objectives. Under the ARC model, MRF-funded researchers in different labs design and carry out experiments together and share results in real time, thus accelerating the rate at which medical discoveries are made. The results, called “potential drug or therapeutic targets,” are then validated, patented and licensed to a pharmaceutical partner who will take them through the clinical trials process and into a new treatment.

The MRF actively manages the drug discovery process from its origins in basic research through to the clinical trials process where new treatments are produced.[5]

Advisory Boards[edit]

MRF receives scientific and industry guidance from a Board of Directors, a Scientific Advisory Board, a Business Advisory Committee, and a Drug Discovery Advisory Group.[6] Members of these advisory and governing boards include Andy Cates of the Value Acquisition Fund; Dr. Stephen Hauser of the University of California at San Francisco; Dr. Christopher Lipinksi; and Dr. Mark Scheidler of the National Institutes of Health–National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.[7]


The MRF is funded by individuals, foundations, and corporations: including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Donaghue Foundation; the Thomas H. Maren Foundation; the Penates Foundation; the Pioneer Fund; William K. Bowes, Founder, U.S. Venture Partners; Scott Cook, founder and chairman of the executive committee of Intuit Corporation; the Omidyar Network; Biogen Idec; and the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation.[8]

In the news[edit]

The MRF has been profiled several times in the national media, including features in The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, and BusinessWeek. It has also been used as an example in books such as The Definitive Drucker, by Elizabeth Haas Edersheim; The Culture of Collaboration, by Evan Rosen, and We Are the New Radicals, by Julia Moulden.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, "Vision and Mission."
  2. ^ "In middle of MS battle, pioneering foundation closing its doors". San Francisco Business Times. 2015-06-22. 
  3. ^ "Myelin Repair Foundation to Cease Operations". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. 2015-06-23. 
  4. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “A New Model Offering New Hope.”
  5. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC)TM.” [1]
  6. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “Myelin Repair Foundation Launches First-of-a-Kind Drug Discovery Advisory Group.” [2]
  7. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “Board and Advisors.”
  8. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “FAQ: Who supports the Myelin Repair Foundation?” [3]
  9. ^ Myelin Repair Foundation, “MRF Newsroom.”

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Begley, Sharon. Wall Street Journal. “Anxious For Cures, Grant Givers Turn More Demanding.” September 29, 2004. Page A1.
  • Groopman, Jerome. The New Yorker. “Buying a Cure.” January 28, 2008 [4]
  • Hagel, John, and John Seely Brown. “Myelin Repair Foundation’s Institutional Innovation.” BusinessWeek . May 7, 2008. [5]
  • Schonfeld, Eric. Fortune. “One Man’s Crusade for a Cure.” September 21, 2006. [6]
  • Tansey, Bernadette. San Francisco Chronicle. “Not For Profit – Just For Hope.” March 29, 2008. [7]
  • Forbes. “Opexa Therapeutics and the Myelin Repair Foundation Partner on Novel Multiple Sclerosis Research Programs.” September 3, 2008. [8]