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June 23, 2015

Calif. MS Charity That Played Key Research Role to Shut Down

A Bay Area nonprofit that pioneered new ways to speed promising multiple sclerosis treatments into clinical trials announced Monday that it will close at the end of August, San Francisco Business Times reports.

In a statement on the Myelin Repair Foundation's website, President Scott Johnson said that despite "tremendous success on the research side," the donor-dependent group has struggled to raise enough money to keep up with its relatively low costs.

Mr. Johnson, who has MS, founded the charity in 2003. With a yearly budget of about $5 million — far below the typical costs for developing drugs — it adopted new models to pursue treatments, working directly with researchers and setting up its own labs. The foundation played a major role in research on ways to restore myelin, a substance that protects nerve cells and is attacked by MS, but Mr. Johnson said it has a small contributor base and that "several large donations" expected for the new fiscal year did not materialize.