- FDA Launches the START Pilot Program 
- Roche and Ionis partner in HD and AD drug development  
- National Depression Screening Day  

FDA Launches the START Pilot Program 

This week, the FDA launched the Support for clinical Trials Advancing Rare disease Therapeutics (START) Pilot Program to accelerate therapies for rare diseases. A limited number of companies will earn entry into the program. Participants will have the opportunity to meet more frequently with the FDA with the goal of speeding clinical development of drugs targeting rare diseases. While this program is not HD-specific, it is an exciting incentive for smaller companies to prioritize rare disorders like HD in their clinical pipeline. To learn more, click here. 

Roche and Ionis partner in HD and AD drug development  

Last week, Ionis Pharmaceuticals announced it will enter into an agreement with Roche for early-stage development of two RNA-targeting experimental drugs for treatment of Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These two companies have collaborated before in HD research for the development of tominersen. While this new agreement is for drugs in the earliest phases of development, it is exciting that these companies are continuing to prioritize HD in their research pipelines. To read more, click here.  

National Depression Screening Day  

All members of the HD community may face ongoing challenges with their mental health, regardless of their genetic status. As part of National Mental Illness Awareness Week and in honor of National Depression Screening Day, Mental Health America is providing free, anonymous, and confidential depression screenings through an online platform you can utilize from home. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool to identify the presence or absence of depression symptoms and to determine whether to discuss further with a doctor or mental health professional. To learn more about this resource, click here.