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CureDuchenne Ventures Announces The "CureDuchenne Ventures 2020 Pitch Contest," To Award Two $25,000 Prizes For Novel Ideas In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapy Development

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --­­­ CureDuchenne Ventures, the venture funding arm of CureDuchenne, a leading global nonprofit dedicated to funding and finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, today announced the first ever CureDuchenne Ventures 2020 Pitch Contest. The goal of this effort is to continue to find and support innovations in Duchenne therapy development, despite COVID-19 restricting the research community's ability to meet in person at conferences and workshops. 

"While we have a long history of investments in early-stage Duchenne companies, we are expanding our model to create no-strings attached awards," said CEO and Founder of CureDuchenne, Debra Miller. "We are most interested in new therapeutic targets, as well as novel solutions for overcoming limitations of therapies currently in development, such as immune-targeting approaches to make gene therapy more widely accessible. Our recent $1M seed investment into Myosana Therapeutics, exemplifies our commitment to funding and supporting next generation gene therapy research."

The contest is open to U.S. colleges, universities, biotech companies, and pharma companies with researchers in academia or industry focused on therapeutic targets and technology platforms that can be applied to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This is an opportunity for investigators to initiate deeper relationships to Duchenne drug development experts.

"Venture philanthropy can drastically change outcomes for patients. CureDuchenne has embraced venture philanthropy and will enable breakthroughs for patients by providing entrepreneurs and innovators with the initial risk capital needed to pursue the next generation of medicines," said Walter Kowtoniuk, Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures and one of the pitch contest finalist judges. "I am grateful to be able to play a small part in ushering in this next generation of medicines."

For over a decade, CureDuchenne Ventures has funded more than 20 promising research projects resulting in six successful exits to advance treatments for Duchenne. The CureDuchenne Ventures Pitch Contest creates a new platform that encourages and supports innovative ideas to accelerate research for the Duchenne community. 

To enter, visit Each entry will consist of a brief application form and a slide presentation. Two winners will each be awarded $25,000, plus ongoing access to experts in the Duchenne drug discovery space to help provide strategic counsel and recommendations on next steps.

Submissions for the CureDuchenne Ventures 2020 Pitch Contest will be received until July 13, 2020, and all applications meeting the eligibility criteria will be evaluated to determine who will get invited to be finalists.  Chosen finalists will virtually pitch their proposals live to the panel of esteemed judges. Pitches will be held between August 17 and 21, 2020, and up to eight applicants will be invited to participate. The winners will be announced in September 2020.

Judging will be performed by a panel from the scientific and venture capital communities which includes: Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP, Chair of Board of Directors, Caraway Therapeutics, Mitchell H. Finer, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, President of ElevateBio, Dave Greenwald, PhD, VP, Business Development at Deerfield Management, Michael G. Kelly, PhD, Chief Scientific Advisor, CureDuchenne, Adam M. Koppel, MD, PhD Managing Director Bain Capital Life Sciences, Walter Kowtoniuk, PhD, Venture Partner, Third Rock Ventures, Martin Lehr, CEO, Context Therapeutics, Eric Olson, PhD, Professor & Chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Lianna Orlando, PhD, Senior Director of Research, CureDuchenne, Kush Parmar, MD, PhD Managing Partner of 5AM Ventures.

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID IN PUERTO RICO AND WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants must be either (a) an accredited college or university in the 50 United States or District of Columbia, or (b) a biotech or pharma company based in the 50 United States or District of Columbia. See application form, submission requirements, judging criteria, and official rules at Entries must be submitted between 12:00 PM Eastern Time on 06/08/2020 and 4:00 PM Eastern Time on 07/13/2020. The two (2) eligible entrants with the most promising ideas in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy therapy development will each win $25,000. Sponsor: CureDuchenne, located at 1400 Quail Street Suite 110, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)
DMD is a severe X-linked form of muscular dystrophy that affects approximately 1 in 5000 males born each year. DMD is caused by the absence of the dystrophin protein. Dystrophin is a large protein that provides multiple cellular functions and helps to protect skeletal and cardiac muscle against injury, inflammation and fibrosis. Individuals with DMD show progressive muscular degeneration and lose the ability to walk by early to mid-teens and progress to full loss of upper body function.  Cardiopulmonary complications are the primary cause of death.

About CureDuchenne
CureDuchenne is recognized as a global leader in research, patient care, and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the leading genetic killer of young boys, Duchenne affects more than 300,000 individuals living today. CureDuchenne is dedicated to finding and funding a cure for Duchenne by breaking the traditional charitable mold through an innovative venture philanthropy model that funds groundbreaking research, early diagnosis, and community education. For more information on how to help raise awareness and funds needed for research, please visit


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CureDuchenne Ventures Announces The "CureDuchenne Ventures 2020 Pitch Contest," To Award Two $25,000 Prizes For Novel Ideas In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapy Development

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Last Updated: 09-Jun-2020