Lundbeck has joined forces with the Michael J Fox Foundation to develop pharmaceuticals that they hope will change the way Parkinson's disease is treated.

The MJFF is putting up 5.5 million kroner (just over $1 million) towards two Lundbeck projects. The first centres on antibodies that bind to the alpha-synuclein protein which in all PD patients over time creates changes in the brain.

Kim Andersen, head of Lundbeck's research in Denmark, said that by affecting alpha-synuclein using antibodies, "we may be able to slow the disease, preventing it from spreading to the nervous system [and] in this way, we can prevent the occurrence of adjunct symptoms. He noted that "we are currently unable to offer treatment affecting disease progression", but therapy with antibodies "may prove to have this potential".

He went on to say that "although we are now aware that the antibody can slow the progression of PD in animal models, an effective medical treatment is still a long way off, and in our project we seek to develop the best antibody for a potential treatment".

In the other project, researchers are seeking to develop a treatment by focusing on an orphan G-protein coupled receptor in the part of the brain which has previously not been investigated. The aims to have a new drug which, unlike existing treatments, does not affect the dopamine receptors in the brain, and therefore is expected to not elicit motor side effects.

Dr Andersen said the world's leading researchers work with MJFF, "and the research grants are testament to the work we conduct here". The foundation's chief executive Todd Sherer added that the two projects "show promise in making a true difference in the lives of these patients — through easing symptoms and halting disease".