Impact Takes Courage. Learn more about the Target ALS Rebecca Luker Courage Award. Know someone who is making an impact in the fight to end ALS? Submit your nomination today!

Our Challenge

Barriers to Progress

Over the more than 150-year period since ALS was first described, little happened because of our lack of knowledge of the nervous system and of the disease itself. In the last two decades, a veritable explosion of promising basic science took place including the discovery of new ALS genes and new candidate therapeutic targets.

Despite advances in understanding ALS, critical tools and resources for scientists to test ideas had been missing.

Yet despite these discoveries, ALS remained an incurable disease.Why? A series of mutually-reinforcing barriers were standing in the way, including:

  • Gaps in Funding: Few funding opportunities supported the translation of basic science ideas into validated drug targets and treatments.
  • Siloed Research: ALS researchers were operating in traditional silos, competing with each other rather than collaborating.
  • Lack of Scientific Resources: Researchers lacked access to the tools and resources necessary to advance promising ideas.
  • Limited Industry Investment: Given the limitations of translating ideas into the clinic, industry saw ALS as a high-risk area.
  • Bias in Funding Decisions: ALS research funding relied on a peer review process with inherent conflicts of interest.
  • Intellectual Property Restrictions: ALS scientists needed access to data and resources with no strings attached.

We developed an innovative model to empower researchers through collaboration, supported by funding and cutting edge tools, known as The Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem.

Unmatched in ALS research, our Innovation Ecosystem is a radically different approach to drug discovery breakthroughs, which we believe will lead to the first viable treatments for ALS.