Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai has expanded its drug discovery collaboration with University College London (UCL) in the UK for additional five years to 2023.
The partnership, which initially commenced in 2012 for six-years, is intended to advance research findings into new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.
Under the extended alliance, the partners will carry out clinical development of a drug candidate called E2814 for Alzheimer’s disease.
E2814 is one of the projects established in the first phase of the collaboration. The candidate is an anti-tau monoclonal antibody being developed to slow the progression of neurodegenerative conditions.
Eisai and UCL have started preparations to conduct Phase I clinical studies of the therapeutic in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s in the 2018 fiscal year.
Eisai Neurology business group chief discovery officer Teiji Kimura said: “By combining the knowledge of UCL, which conducts world-class research into neurodegenerative disorders and is the operational hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute, together with the knowledge of Eisai, which possesses a rich pipeline for dementia treatments, we are doing our utmost to link the results of joint research starting with E2814 to new medicines in order to contribute to patients who are awaiting curative therapies as soon as possible.”
Alzheimer’s is a chronic, progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterised by formation of amyloid-beta protein plaques and neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein.
E2814 is designed to target the tau protein ‘seeds’ for preventing further build-up of neurofibrillary tangles in order to potentially slow the disease progression.
Kimura added: “Significant unmet medical needs exist for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease due to a lack of effective treatments that can prevent disease progression, and Eisai’s mission is to contribute to overcoming these issues.”
According to the company, current estimates indicate an increase of dementia patients from existing 50 million to nearly 82 million in 2030.