ALS TDI History


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The history of the ALS Therapy Development Institute is the history of the lives of the people in the community we serve. Hundreds of families and thousands of supporters make our important work possible each and every day. In 1999, James Allen Heywood realized that a gap exists in the preclinical development of therapeutics for ALS and founded the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) as an independent research center with a singular focus: develop effective therapeutics that slow and stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease). As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, ALS TDI becomes the world's first nonprofit biotechnology company.

Between 2001-2006, ALS TDI screened more potential therapeutics for ALS than all other research labs in the world combined and joins together with an international consortium of ALS researchers to discuss the best practices for preclinical research using the animal model of disease. This effort culminates in the publication of a comprehensive guide to the use of the SOD1G93A animal model in the journal Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Scott, et. al). In 2007, ALS TDI entered into a historic partnership with MDA's Augie's Quest. The partnership is centered around the foresight and understanding that the establishment of best practices for preclinical drug development requires significant commitment and infrastructure. The collaboration enables ALS TDI to become a center of excellence in preclinical drug discovery and validation.

Today, the Institute maintains the most robust drug development pipeline of its kind in the world with dozens of potential treatments using a variety of therapeutic strategies. The ALS Therapy Development Institute represents a paradigm shift in the way that drug discovery and drug development is conducted for an orphan disease such as ALS.

For more information on ALS TDI, please email us at or call 617-441-7200.

TDI Timeline