Israeli Network of Excellence (NNE) to develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases


Drug development experts at Teva will join academics at 10 universities in the search for new treatments

Israeli pharmaceutical manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has announced a new neuroscience research collaboration to focus on novel therapeutic approaches to managing some of today’s most challenging diseases.

Population growth and the fact that people are living longer are combining in a way that has seen the prevalence of brain diseases grow significantly and the burden on society has dramatically increased. Israel is a world leader in neuroscience research, ranked 5th globally in Neuroscience publications per capita. This initiative, the National Network of Excellence in Neuroscience (NNE), seeks to harness that expertise in a community drawn from 10 of the leading universities and teaching hospitals in Israel.

Working as an open-network, the NNE aims to develop new treatments and approaches to counter neurological, neurodegenerative and psychiatric illness. It brings the researchers together and provides a working interface with industry, where experts in drug development from Teva will interact with academic researchers to increase the potential to translate basic science into therapeutic options.

Research projects supported by the NNE are already providing some important clues towards progress in key treatment modalities. Some of these projects have already identified approaches to treatment, which may modify the course and progression of diseases.

I want to beat Multiple Sclerosis and send my patients back to their lives

In Alzheimer's disease, where loss of memory and learning ability lead to the most devastating effects, approaches to enhance memory are being explored. Additionally, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington disease are two areas where new approaches that aim to stop or reverse the progression of the disease are being investigated.

‘I want to beat Multiple Sclerosis and send my patients back to their lives,’ said Professor Anat Achiron, Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre at Sheba Medical Centre, one of the NNE members. ‘The NNE initiative has enabled us to progress with a new compound, which already shows promising early results towards potentially having a new treatment modality in Multiple Sclerosis.’

Michael Hayden, President, Teva Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, said: ‘This initiative is all about supporting academic research. Most of these projects are at an early stage and significant development is still required. What we have established is a very promising foundation that I am confident will deliver advances in terms of approaches to treatment.’

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The NNE includes the The Hebrew University, The Weizmann Institute, The Technion, Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, Sourasky Medical Centre, Sheba Medical Centre, Rabin Medical Centre, Bar Ilan University and the University of Haifa.