We began in 2008 as the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia Research (CFR), a UCSF-based academic research consortium focused on discovery research. Our investigators pursued projects to understand progranulin genetics and basic biology, developed animal models and assays, identified potential drug targets and pathways, and expanded key repositories, including brain and fluid biobanks. The CFR originally operated under a grant provided to UCSF and offered sub-awards to invited investigators across the US and Canada.
In 2010, to expand our efforts, we founded a non-profit foundation, the Bluefield Project to Cure FTD. The mission of the Bluefield Project is to translate the findings of our research consortium into the development of drugs to treat FTD. As of 2017, the Bluefield Project directly funds grant recipients. In order to accomplish this change, individual research and licensing agreements were negotiated with each investigator’s institution. These agreements also enabled the aggregation of all IP, tools, methods, assays and samples under one master agreement. Such an approach greatly facilitates Bluefield’s ability to enter into partnerships with pharma and biotech companies.
We employ a comprehensive approach, funding research central to understanding the basic, translational and clinical time course of progranulin-deficient FTD. We have funded over 26 investigators, whose work directly led to two clinical trials and two patent applications. Our investigators have screened nearly 500,000 compounds, published over 100 papers, and trained over 50 scientists in FTD research. We actively pursue collaborations with pharma and biotech companies, which have both the necessary funding and drug development expertise, to speed the development of a therapy.