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About ALS TDI
We Have One Mission: END ALS
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is the world's foremost drug discovery lab focused solely on ALS. As a nonprofit biotech we operate without regard to profit or politics.
Led by drug development experts and people with ALS, our Cambridge, Massachusetts based lab is funded by a global network of supporters unified to end ALS. Our mission is to discover and develop effective treatments for ALS.
About ALS TDI
We Have One Mission: END ALS
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is the world's foremost drug discovery lab focused solely on ALS. As a nonprofit biotech we operate without regard to profit or politics.
Led by drug development experts and people with ALS, our Cambridge, Massachusetts based lab is funded by a global network of supporters unified to end ALS. Our mission is to discover and develop effective treatments for ALS.
Our Impact
With preclinical, clinical, and translational research all happening under one roof, we rapidly pursue the best ideas for slowing, stopping, and ending ALS. Our cutting-edge approach has resulted in:
  • The rigorous screening of over 400 potential treatments for ALS—more than any other ALS research lab in the world.
  • The world's first Precision Medicine Program, a partnership with people living with ALS, designed to speed up drug discovery and therapeutic development for ALS.
  • ALS TDI becoming the first nonprofit biotech in any disease to develop a potential treatment, AT-1501, and bring it from our own labs, through FDA review and into clinical trial.
  • The improvement of worldwide standards in preclinical drug screening in models of ALS.
Our Impact
Why We Started
The Heywood Family
Stephen Heywood was diagnosed with ALS at age 29. After finding no treatment options, his brother, Jamie Heywood, realized that a gap existed in the preclinical development of therapies for ALS. In 1999, Jamie founded the ALS Therapy Development Foundation, now ALS TDI, in the basement of his family's Newton home in an effort to bridge this gap and bring effective treatments to people with ALS as quickly as possible.
Although Stephen is no longer with us, this same sense of hope, family and innovation drives every decision made at ALS TDI today.
Meet the team working to end ALS at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). When you make a donation, you are helping us get closer to finding cures for this devastating disease.
What We're Doing in 2020
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is the world's foremost drug discovery lab focused on ALS. Our comprehensive approach to ALS research spans every aspect of drug discovery research and therapeutic development. Below are our goals for 2020 and how they fit into our approach and the steps of drug development.
Our Approach to End ALS
We screen drugs.
We screen drugs.
We learn about ALS from people with ALS.
We learn about ALS from people with ALS.
We validate more models of ALS.
We validate more models of ALS.
We aim to improve how clinical trials are run.
We aim to improve how clinical trials are run.
Steps of Drug Development

  • Drug Discovery

  • Lead Optimization

  • Clinical Research
We will begin screening promising drug candidate from a 30,000-compound chemical library that we acquired in 2019.
We will advance 25 to 30 potential therapies using animal models of ALS.
We will expand our in vivo model screening program to include models of the TDP43 mutation.
We will establish a zebrafish model of C9orf72-mediated ALS in collaboration with researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.
We will begin analyzing samples from the PMP's In-Home Blood Collection Initiative to discover and validate potential biomarkers.
In collaboration with Google, we will optimize the application of clinical symptom measurement tools like accelerometers and voice recordings, with the goal of readying these types of tools for use in ALS clinical trials.
We will enroll 100 more people in our Precision Medicine Program (PMP), allowing ALS TDI researchers to study data on symptom progression, genetics and other risk factors, biomarkers, and interventions to enhance the ALS drug development pipeline and to make clinical trials faster.
We Put Your Money Where Our Research Is
87 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to finding treatments and cures at ALS TDI, compared to the average 75 cents at other research labs.
Charity Navigator has awarded ALS TDI its highest rating—four stars—for a record six years in a row. This exceptional designation sets ALS TDI apart from its peers.