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Eisai forms neurology partnership with UCL

Unique ‘therapeutic innovation group’ will research Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other brain conditions

Eisai

Eisai is to research and develop new treatments for neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as part of a collaboration with UK-based university UCL.

Eisai said the deal was a “unique alliance” that will bring together researchers from both organisations in a way not previously seen in the UK.

This includes the formation of a therapeutic innovation group (TIG), comprising scientists from both UCL and Eisai, which will co-ordinate all efforts to discover and assess therapeutic targets in neurology.

This group will be governed by a joint steering committee co-chaired by UCL's Professor Alan Thompson and Eisai's neuroscience unit president, Dr Lynn Kramer.

"This is a genuinely new way of collaborating on pharmaceutical research for UCL,” said Professor Sir John Tooke, vice provost for health at UCL, “with exciting implications for research with the potential to lead to step changes in the treatment of diseases which affect the nervous system, such as Alzheimer's.”

This latest development builds on more than 20 years of collaborative efforts between UCL and Eisai that have included the development of epilepsy drug Fycompa (perampanel), which was launched in the UK in September, 2012.

The two organisations also announced in May, 2011, they would be stepping up their efforts into neurodegenerative disease, including biomarker research into neuroinflammation, neurovascular/mitochondria and proteostasis.

The latest announcement takes their collaboration even further, however, bringing together scientists from both parties more closely than ever before as part of Eisai's Open Innovation initiative, which the company says aims to “explore external ideas and paths to drug discovery through partnership”.

As well as gaining from Eisai's scientific knowhow, UCL will also benefit financially from the deal, receiving milestone payments as projects progress as well as royalties on therapies successfully brought to market.

14th December 2012

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