Belgian biopharmaceutical firm UCB has partnered with non-profit Epilepsy Society in the UK to provide targeted treatments for epilepsy patients whose seizures do not respond to existing therapies.
Under a €2.5m, five-year genomics research programme, the partners will work towards more personalised, targeted diagnosis and treatment based on individual genetic make-up.
Epilepsy Society expects the project to yield improved, better focussed therapies that could potentially provide a seizure-free life for patients globally.
Epilepsy Society Genomics director Sanjay Sisodiya said: “Advances in genomics present exciting potential for a paradigm shift in epilepsy. We hope to use them to gain a much better understanding of the disease trajectory, improving diagnosis and treatment for people living with epilepsy.
“Our hope is that by embracing genomics we will be able to provide personalised care for people with epilepsy, eventually helping us to identify the right treatment, first time.”
UCB and Epilepsy Society intend to use genome sequencing and genetic biomarkers analysis for gaining deeper insights into the disease.
The project builds on previous research, including the 100,000 Genomes Project by Genomics England that allowed mapping and assessment of genetic characteristics at scale and in a shorter duration.
As part of the new programme, clinical data from Epilepsy Society’s Chalfont Centre in Buckinghamshire will be leveraged to better understand epilepsy.
The collaboration aims to utilise key insights from the research to design and develop improved, personalised methods to manage epilepsy, tailoring to individual needs and genetic characteristics.
UCB executive vice-president and chief scientific officer Dhaval Patel said: “Working together with the Epilepsy Society we now have an exciting opportunity to develop unique insights into this condition, which will provide a platform to inform our scientific and drug discovery approaches.
“We hope this collaboration could help in the development of tools to better identify difficult to treat patients earlier, and ultimately to develop tailored and targeted medicines which could bring significant value to these patients in the future.”
The company focuses on offering treatments for neurological and immunology disorders. In 2017, UCB recorded €4.5bn in revenue.