The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) and the Lyme Research Alliance (LRA), two of the most influential voices on Lyme and tick-borne diseases, announced over the weekend their intention to merge (the “Merger”). The Merger was approved by each of the respective Board of Directors last evening, pending regulatory approval.
The Merger will result in the formation of the largest tick-borne disease organization in the country, allowing for greater resources to be applied to research on urgently needed improvements in diagnostics and treatments, while maintaining awareness programs for the general public and physicians. The groups plan to rename the merged non-profit upon final completion of the Merger.
“Our mutual overarching goal is what moved us forward to consolidate our groups,” states Diane Blanchard, co-founder and co-president of LRA. “The Merger strategically positions us to lead our joint mission to develop improved, accurate, accessible diagnostics and treatment therapies, as well as continue to raise awareness of tick-borne diseases in communities.”
Adds David Roth, co-chairman of TBDA and a managing director of the private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, “the Merger of LRA and TBDA marks the next logical step to helping people learn about this insidious, complicated disease. The Merger presents a new level of cooperation in fundraising, and will provide a platform for a strengthened, unified and collaborative voice to advance the fight to end Lyme disease forever.”
The Merger will harness the expertise of each organization, fueling the innovation potential of its vast network of world-renowned medical experts, physicians, researchers and key medical institutions. This further strengthens proven consumer grass roots awareness campaigns, major national fundraising events and media relations programs. Examples include:
• The leader in funding and financial support for the development of accurate diagnostic testing, and to find a cure for chronic or persistent Lyme infection.
• The first endowed center for the study of chronic Lyme disease at Columbia Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases Center at Columbia University Medical Center, New York.
• The first planned national bio-repository of specimens and data pilot programs throughout the country.
• World-renowned members of a Scientific Advisory Board, including Luc Montagnier, Phd, co-winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine and the co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Judith Miklossy MD, Phd, director, Alzheimer Research Center, Switzerland, expert in spirochete microbiology; Mark Soloski, Phd, professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Richard Ostfeld, Phd, senior scientist and disease ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; and Allison DeLong, M.S., biostatistician at Center for Statistical Sciences in the Rhode Island Department of Health.
• Comprehensive public awareness and education campaigns, such as the “Bite Back for a Cure” campaign.
“This new scale enables Lyme disease researchers to access the new tools and technologies which are now coming online that will change the landscape of diagnostic and treatment research with the ultimate promise of an end to the tragedy of this disease,” said Robert Kobre, a member of LRA’s Scientific Advisory Board and a managing director at Credit Suisse.
“We are looking forward to working closely together as a new organization to find the answers that will end the suffering of so many afflicted people, especially children,” said Debbie Siciliano, co-founder and co-president, LRA. “By joining forces we will help to ensure that our progress on research and education makes an even greater impact on the medical community,” adds Charles Balducci, cochairman of TBDA.
More than 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme disease each year, 10 times more than previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As it often goes undetected, millions more are at risk of developing life-debilitating, potentially deadly conditions. In fact, the National Institutes of Health found that the impact of Lyme disease on people’s health was at least equal to the disability of patients with congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis and greater than those seen in type 2 diabetes.
The original founders of both organizations will continue to play an active role in the combined entity. The Merger will result in a charitable organization with over 25 years of combined experience, a leading non-profit organization for public, medical and government education and the funding of cutting-edge research for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. For more information about LRA, TBDA and the Merger, please visit www.LymeResearchAlliance.org and www.TBDAlliance.org.