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September 30, 2012

French drug giant Servier enters into agreement to aid development of Alzheimer’s drug

Leading European drug company Servier has agreed to support the development of an Insulin-Regulated AminoPeptidase (IRAP) drug, which could be used to help patients with Alzheimer's disease.

By Heidi Vella

Old people

Leading European drug company Servier has agreed to support the development of an Insulin-Regulated AminoPeptidase (IRAP) drug, which could be used to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Servier has entered into an agreement with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and its collaborative partners, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Monash University, to develop the novel target drug, which could help neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Siew Yeen Chai first identified the role of IRAP in the memory at the Florey Institute, but it was only with further investigation by himself and Professor Michael Parker of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research that they discovered inhibitors of IRAP may potentially have disease-modifying effects in Alzheimer’s suffers.

With Servier now on board the programme they hope to advance IRAP to clinical stages by utilising Servier’s expertise in drug discovery and development of CNS therapeutic agents.

"The Florey is delighted that a groundbreaking piece of work from our scientists and collaborators has the opportunity to be partnered with Servier with the promise of new medicines being developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease."

This new collaboration bucks the trend of several high-profile drug developments failing and pharmaceutical companies deciding to prioritise drug development in different areas.

Director of the Florey, Professor Geoff Donnan, said, "The Florey is delighted that a groundbreaking piece of work from our scientists and collaborators has the opportunity to be partnered with Servier with the promise of new medicines being developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease."

The Florey and its partners will receive from Servier, under the terms of agreement, annual support for research activities and Servier will receive an exclusive option to license the IRAP programme once agreed research milestones have been met.

The programme will initially focus on research into the therapeutic potential of IRAP in models of neurodegenerative disorders.

President of Servier R&D, Emmanuel Canet, M.D. Ph.D, said, "This collaboration between Servier and the Florey, Monash University and St Vincent’s Institute brings together unique expertise in neurological and psychiatric disorders and drug discovery. This partnership reinforces our quest to find innovative drugs for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease."

The agreement was facilitated by Bio-Link Australia, a life sciences commercialisation company.


Caption: Alzheimer’s disease affects many elderly people. Photo courtesy of Ben Earwicker.

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