Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) announced today that it has created a new research consortium in collaboration with several leading academic research centers that will leverage a range of scientific techniques and disciplines to identify new approaches to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is anticipated that coordinating research and sharing results across a number of different disciplines will greatly accelerate the understanding of the mechanism of this disease and the development of new targets and approaches to treatment. Through the Consortium, each participating lab will undertake a three-year research project. Researchers will meet on a regular basis to provide updates and share information and insights emerging from their research and to exchange results from ongoing efforts at Biogen Idec, which will help to guide ongoing research activities. This level of collaboration will enable researchers to apply others’ learnings to their own efforts in near real time. “ALS research is a primary area of focus for Biogen Idec, but has proven to be a very difficult disease to understand and treat,” said Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas, Ph.D., senior vice president, chief scientific officer, for Biogen Idec and Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School. “We believe that taking a holistic approach that explores the many variables involved in the development and progression of ALS will speed our ability to identify viable drug targets that can be moved into testing. We are hopeful that the assembly of this extraordinary group will allow unprecedented insights and define a new level of synergy between academic research and Biogen Idec.” Biogen Idec has committed more than $10 million over three years to fund research projects by members of the Consortium. This initiative will complement and extend a collaboration the company announced earlier this year with Duke University and the Hudson Alpha Institute to sequence the genomes of 1,000 people living with ALS.