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$127 million new gift from Sergey Brin to Michael J. Fox, family foundations
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$127 million new gift from Sergey Brin to Michael J. Fox, family foundations

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has given $126.6 million worth of Alphabet stock to the Sergey Brin Family Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD) through funded research and ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.

The organization hosts the Fox Trial Finder, which is a website for presenting clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease clinical research.

Established in 2000 by Canadian actor Michael J. Fox, the Foundation has since become the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s disease research in the world, with more than $1 billion of research projects to date. In 2010, the Foundation launched the first large-scale clinical study on evolution biomarkers of the disease at a cost of $45 million over five years/

The Foundation works towards “translational” research—the work of translating basic scientific discoveries into simple treatments with definition to benefit the estimated five million people living with Parkinson’s disease today.

The Foundation drives progress by awarding grants to ensure that the most promising research avenues are thoroughly funded, explored and carried forward toward pharmacy shelves. The Foundation’s four annually recurring Pipeline Programs aim to speed research along the drug development pipeline. The Pipeline Programs include Rapid Response Innovation Awards that quickly support high-risk, high-reward projects with little to no existing preliminary data, but potential to significantly impact our understanding or treatment of PD (an Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research).

Target Validation Awards provide support for work demonstrating whether modulation of a novel biological target has impact in a PD-relevant pre-clinical model — an essential step to the development of potential targeted therapies (an Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research).

Clinical Intervention Awards support clinical testing of promising PD therapies that may significantly and fundamentally improve treatment of PD (an Edmond J. Safra Core Program for PD Research).

Therapeutics Development Initiative, an industry-exclusive support program for preclinical development of Parkinson’s disease therapies with potential to fundamentally alter disease course and/or improve treatment of symptoms above and beyond current standards of care.

The Pipeline Programs are complemented by the Foundation’s Critical Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease program, which provides funds for top research priorities.

Critical Challenges in 2009/2010 include: speeding research on PD genetic targets, LRRK2 and alpha-synuclein; advancing research on neurotrophic factors; identifying biomarkers of PD; understanding patient’s unmet needs, like postural instability and gait disturbances; and promoting collaborations with the Arizona Parkinson’s Disease Consortium.

Sergey Brin has evenly distributed 1.07 million shares of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, between the two foundations. Identified as the ninth richest person in the world, Brin—who co-founded Google with Larry Page in 1998—currently holds 739 million shares in the company.

Brin is a longtime contributor to the Fox Foundation and has supported Parkinson’s Disease research as a personal pursuit—both Brin’s mother and an aunt were diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and reportedly Brin himself carries the Parkinson’s-related mutation of the LRRK2 gene.

As of the end of 2020, the Brin Foundation, with assets estimated at $3 billion, has distributed more than $520 million to nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area—where Brin lives—and elsewhere.

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