Pharmaceutical major GlaxoSmithKline has signed a pact with the University of Dundee in the UKto investigate a potential treatment for Huntington’s disease.
The project will be based on the findings of the University’s Susan Schweiger, who has discovered that the production of the disease-causing protein of Huntington’s can be controlled through a mechanism.
Professor Schweiger’s team will collaborate with GlaxoSmithKline researchers, and the pact signals a further push from the pharmaceutical company into the rare diseases area following previous collaborations to fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Developing treatments for rare diseases can be a hugely profitable market, with a growing number of pharmaceutical companies looking to exploit the high prices and profit margins associated with the medications.
Huntington’s is a hereditary degenerative neurological disorder, symptoms of which include memory loss, depression and anxiety. It can also lead to dementia.
There is no known cure for the disease, and patients die within 10-15 years of onset.
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GlaxoSmithKline is also conducting a separate research project with the University of Dundee, focusing on developing a treatment for rare skin disorder recessive dystrophic epidermylosis bullosa.
Caption: GlaxoSmithKline’s commercial headquarters, based in Brentford, UK.