Eisai and UCL form drug discovery alliance

To develop new therapeutics for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

University College London (UCL) is to collaborate with Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai to investigate new ways of treating diseases such as Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson‘s.

The aim will be to identify and validate novel drug targets, develop new drugs and evaluate them in proof-of-concept clinical trials.

UCL and Eisai will form a Therapeutic Innovation Group (TIG), comprising scientists from both organisations to facilitate and coordinate the discovery and assessment of emerging therapeutic targets involved in neurological diseases. The TIG will also be responsible for the co-development of completely new research areas. A Joint Steering Committee (JSC) will be established to govern the TIG, co-chaired by UCL's Professor Alan Thompson and Eisai's Neuroscience Unit president, Dr Lynn Kramer.

The aim is to identify and validate novel drug targets, develop new drugs and evaluate them in proof-of-concept trials

The collaboration will involve scientists and clinicians at UCL‘s new Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre in London. Eisai will provide drug discovery and development resource and know-how, assay development capabilities and medicinal chemistry expertise.

UCL will receive milestone payments as projects progress and royalties on therapies successfully brought to market.

Kramer said: ‘Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson‘s disease represent a significant unmet medical need due to lack of effective treatments that can prevent disease progression. UCL‘s is a world-class academic institution with specialised research capabilities and we expect this exciting partnership to be very successful.’

Professor Sir John Tooke, vice provost for health at UCL, added: ‘This is a genuinely new way of collaborating on pharmaceutical research for UCL, with exciting implications for research. It will build on many years of close working and collaboration with Eisai, which I am confident will lead to the development of much-needed, new effective therapeutic agents.’

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