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UCB signs epilepsy research pact with Imperial College London

Belgian pharma firm also launches epilepsy centre in Glasgow during National Epilepsy Awareness Week

UCB

UCB has signed a two-year deal with Imperial College London to research the genetic causes of epilepsy and says the collaboration will be the first to apply RNA sequencing and genome-wide approaches to translational epilepsy research.

The two-year partnership, announced during National Epilepsy Awareness Week in the UK, will see the two organisations combine efforts into identifying genetic regulators of brain networks behind epilepsy, with the aim of discovering of new drug targets.

Epilepsy is a notoriously complex disorder to treat, with up to 30 per cent of sufferers still subject to uncontrolled seizures after initial treatment, and only modest improvements in treating the condition seen in drugs launched during the past 20 years.

“[A] new approach to drug development in epilepsy is required,” said Imperial's Dr Michael Johnson, consultant and honorary reader in neurology, and Dr Enrico Petretto, senior lecturer in genomic medicine.

“The aim of our partnership with UCB is to use state of the art genomic approaches to identify causal molecular pathways for epilepsy and ultimately identify and validate new drug targets to modify these pathways.”

UCB supports epilepsy centre in Scotland
In addition, UCB also announced its support of the Quarriers Scottish Epilepsy Centre (SEC), which provides care and assessments for people affected by epilepsy in Scotland, as well as placements for trainee neurologists.

A new centre is currently being built to replace the current building and is due to open in spring, 2013.

“UCB's support for the new SEC means Quarriers will be able to support more people each year living with one of the most common neurological conditions in the UK,” said Quarriers chief executive Paul Moore.

“The new SEC in Govan will be a centre of excellence and enable the charity to be at the forefront of assessment and diagnosis of epilepsy in the UK and further afield.”

Organised by the charity Epilepsy Action, this year's National Epilepsy Awareness Week runs from May 20 to May 26.

21st May 2012

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