Ferring Pharmaceuticals is contributing $10 million to support the March of Dimes Foundation’s goal to create research centers dedicated to discovering the biological causes of preterm birth, one of the most common risk factors for cerebral palsy.
Money from the Ferring’s donation will be used to develop the new European-based Prematurity Center, part of the network of March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, and which will partner with the existing five U.S.-based centers.
Both Ferring and March of Dimes aim to advance research that can help prevent the 15 million annual preterm births recorded worldwide, of which 380,000 alone are in the U.S.
“Over one-third of Ferring’s research and development investment goes towards finding breakthrough treatments that help mothers and babies, from conception to birth, with the goal of contributing to safe pregnancies and deliveries,” Per Falk, Ferring’s chief scientific officer and executive vice president, said in a press release.
“This collaboration reinforces our commitment to improving maternal care through scientific innovation and complements our active research programmes in preeclampsia and preterm birth as well as our recent investments in microbiome research to better understand these conditions.” Falk added.
Preterm birth is used when referring to births before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious, life-long health conditions, including cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, vision or hearing impairment, and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.
“We must do more to save families from the trauma caused by prematurity and the pain of losing a baby born too soon. March of Dimes staff and volunteers are grateful to Ferring Pharmaceuticals for supporting cutting-edge research to help us fulfill our goal to give every baby a chance to be born healthy,” said Stacey D. Stewart, president of March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers network has about 200 scientists and researchers from different fields collaborating together. From obstetrics to genetics and social sciences, the centers work together at different levels, sharing findings and data to expedite advances on the underlying causes of preterm birth.
“My colleagues and I in the current Prematurity Research Centers are very excited by the opportunities this new funding provides and the collaboration with top researchers in Europe,” said David K. Stevenson, principal investigator of the first March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center.
“European countries have some of the lowest rates of preterm birth in the world, and we would love to share in the wealth of data and experience of our colleagues there,” he said.
Joe Leigh Simpson, senior vice president of research and global programs at March of Dimes, said the foundation is not limited to solving the knowledge gap on premature births. “We want to find new clinical and policy-based solutions for families and societies around the world to prevent preterm birth,” he said.