Foundation for the NIH Announces Large-scale Partnership to Expedite Treatments for Schizophrenia

North Bethesda, MD, September 15, 2020 – The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announce the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Schizophrenia (AMP SCZ), the first neuropsychiatric project of the landmark Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) program managed by the FNIH. This five-year, $99 million global public-private partnership pioneers the identification of the early indicators of schizophrenia to catalyze better treatments for patients.

Early intervention and treatment of mental health conditions are tied to better health outcomes, but no tools currently exist to identify individuals at early risk of developing schizophrenia. This makes it difficult to enroll at-risk individuals in clinical trials, which in turn hinders the development of new treatments. AMP SCZ will transform research in clinical high risk for psychosis and address crucial unmet patient needs by:

  • Spurring scientific discovery
    AMP SCZ will validate biomarkers that are needed to identify at-risk individuals and predict the likelihood of progression to psychosis and other outcomes. It will also enable the identification of these individuals for inclusion in clinical trials and pinpoint the metrics by which to assess early signs of a treatment’s efficacy.
  • Expanding reach
    In its first three years, the program will establish a research network with U.S. and international sites focused on clinical high-risk populations, making research results more applicable to clinical trials globally.
  • Setting the course for new research
    Upon completion of the project, AMP SCZ will have created a research framework that lays a foundation for future development of faster, more robust interventions.
  • Connecting the field
    Research data will be quickly disseminated to the broader scientific community through the NIMH Data Archive platform, allowing faster translation from findings to solutions.

“Schizophrenia usually first appears early in a person’s life, presenting challenges throughout the individual’s life and affecting their families and entire communities,” said Maria C. Freire, Ph.D., President and Executive Director of the FNIH. “Through AMP SCZ, the FNIH will coalesce a diverse array of cross-sector perspectives to scale up the research investment and develop a set of tools that will improve the lives of all of those affected by this complex, long-term and difficult medical condition.”

In this unprecedented partnership, the FNIH united nine organizations representing government (NIMH, U.S. Food and Drug Administration), private foundations (Wellcome and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation), industry (Boehringer Ingelheim; Janssen Research & Development, LLC; Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.), and patient-centered not-for-profit organizations (National Alliance on Mental Illness and One Mind).

“The research community is poised to advance effective interventions for schizophrenia as never before,” said Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the NIMH. “Engaging industry, not-for-profit biomedical organizations and patient-centered organizations is critical to ensuring that our scientific agenda is relevant to treatment needs and can be used quickly in clinical trials to accelerate development of novel therapies.”

Data from the AMP SCZ initiative will be publicly available through the NIMH Data Archive on an ongoing basis.

Learn more about the AMP SCZ partnership.

Read what the partners are saying.

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About AMP: AMP SCZ joins four other AMP programs expediting discovery around Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, all coordinated by the FNIH since the 2014 launch of the large-scale initiative. The AMP partnerships use cutting-edge scientific approaches to bring new medicines and support to patients by enhancing validation of novel, clinically relevant therapeutic targets and biomarkers. To learn more about AMP, visit https://fnih.org/AMP.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health: The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH. The FNIH works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit https://fnih.org.

About the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit www.nimh.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit https://nih.gov.