News Release

Empire Discovery Institute receives commercial funding award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Business Announcement

Empire Discovery Institute, Inc.

ROCHESTER, NY, May 2, 2024 – Empire Discovery Institute (EDI) has entered into a collaborative research partnership with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its commercial development program Fast Forward, LLC. Through a competitive application and review process, EDI was awarded $791,933 from Fast Forward along with technical support from its network of key opinion leaders in multiple sclerosis (MS) who will help contribute to the advancement of EDI’s technology.

Fast Forward provides research funding to commercial entities who develop promising new therapies for the treatment of MS, a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system impacting the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. EDI has been incubating an early-stage drug discovery project that originated from University at Buffalo collaborator M. Laura Feltri MD, an internationally renowned pioneer in the study and treatment of myelin diseases of the nervous system. Dr. Feltri and the EDI scientific team discovered novel small molecules which have the potential to stimulate the repair of nerve damage by promoting remyelination in MS and other white matter injuries. The Fast Forward award will support continued optimization of these small molecule drug candidates.
“We look forward to working with our National MS Society partners at Fast Forward to advance this work toward human clinical studies. By combining scientific innovation and pharmaceutical industry expertise, EDI’s goal of promoting the efficient translation of fundamental scientific discoveries from academia into important new medicines is becoming reality,” said Ron Newbold, CEO of Empire Discovery Institute.

EDI was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. M. Laura Feltri in late 2023 after a long battle with cancer, but plan to continue the work she guided throughout her storied career.
"Empire Discovery Institute is deeply grateful to Fast Forward for their support," says Venu Govindaraju, EDI board member and vice president of research and economic development at UB. "We are honored by this award and look forward to continuing esteemed colleague Dr. Feltri's life's achievements, legacy and the institute's important work in advancing drug treatments for MS patients around the world."

For Fast Forward, this partnership represents a continuation of its dedication to support novel research efforts aimed at advancing promising treatments for MS patients.
“Fast Forward is pleased to provide significant financial and intellectual support to this Empire Discovery Institute program, as it offers the potential to slow or stop the progression of demyelination in people who have progressive forms of MS” said Dr. Walt Kostich, Associate Vice President, Translational Research at the National MS Society. “We look forward to collaborating with EDI on this program as it aligns closely with the Pathways to Cures Roadmap, in particular to stop progression and to promote myelin repair and protection.”

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.

About Empire Discovery Institute
Empire Discovery Institute (EDI) is a non-profit New York drug discovery and development accelerator created to translate promising scientific discoveries into new break-through treatments and cures, support vital upstate NY pharmaceutical research efforts, and foster the development of a vibrant biotech start-up community within New York State. EDI leverages an Advisory Board of world-class scientific, technical and business development veterans who have an established track record of translating discoveries through the early stages of development to clinical proof of concept and commercialization. EDI serves as an important bridge across the “valley of death” that traditionally divides academic innovation from commercial translation. EDI has been made possible through a New York State seed grant from Empire State Development and through a research partnership with the University at Buffalo, University of Rochester and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. (

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