25 October 2012
Today, we are pleased to tell you about an exciting new Autism Speaks venture that will speed the translation of autism research into life-changing products.
Thanks to your passionate support, recent scientific discoveries have set the stage for the development of medicines, devices and technologies that will improve the lives of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Too often, however, such discoveries have languished in the laboratory or on the pages of academic journals. These include important findings from the studies you help us fund. For this to change, we need to act as catalysts. We need to encourage companies to develop discoveries into products. The necessary spark can include providing resources and personal connections to help get the job done.
To accomplish this, we have established a not-for-profit affiliate, Delivering Scientific Innovation to Autism (DELSIA). DELSIA will bridge the gap between groundbreaking research and the resources needed to deliver real-life benefits to our communities. Robert Ring, Ph.D., Autism Speaks vice president for translational research, will serve as DELSIA’s president.
Importantly, we will be identifying the partners who can bring promising scientific breakthroughs to market. These partners will likely include – but not be limited to – biotech startups, academic-industry incubators, entrepreneurs and small businesses. With seed money, we will foster their larger investment in the development of products that can treat autism’s core symptoms and associated medical conditions. We will likewise partner with companies developing supportive technologies and apps that can improve quality of life for those on the autism spectrum.
In forming an affiliate designed for business partnerships, we are following in the footsteps of several successful endeavors by other nonprofit organizations. These include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Both have affiliates that have greatly accelerated the development of new and more effective treatments.
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Elizabeth Feld
Chief Science Officer President