First drug candidate from Eisai-UCL research collaboration to enter Alzheimer’s clinical trials
13 December 2018
Eisai recently announced that the first drug candidate from their drug discovery collaboration with UCL, is to enter Phase I clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in early 2019.
The candidate, known as E2814, is an anti-tau monoclonal antibody set to be tested in human trials for the first time to assess its ability to slow the progression of AD.
AD is a chronic, progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterised by formation of protein deposits known as plaques (made of amyloid-beta protein) and neurofibrillary tangles (made of tau protein) in patient’s brains. Tau “seeds” are believed to spread between different areas of the brain as the disease advances.
E2814 is designed to target the tau “seeds”, preventing further build-up of neurofibrillary tangles and thus may slow the course of the disease.
“The discovery is the result of a truly open partnership with UCL. We are proud that our collaboration has led to the discovery of E2814, which will progress into clinical trials early next year,” said Andy Takle, Executive Director and Head, Eisai Hatfield Research Laboratories. “This achievement would not have been possible without the unique collaboration model we have built based on a continued exchange of ideas and sharing of expertise and resources.”
Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said: “This unique research partnership brings together UCL’s world-class academic research capabilities with the drug discovery expertise of industry. These results highlight the success of bringing together such complementary expertise.”
The research collaboration, agreed in 2012 for an initial period of six years, has been extended for a further 5 years to 2023. It was established as part of Eisai’s Open Innovation strategy to collaborate with leading researchers in order to translate new research findings into innovative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. E2814 is one outcome out of a portfolio of projects established during the first phase of the collaboration with UCL.
According to The Alzheimer’s Society there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025. It is believed AD accounts for up to 70% of all dementia cases. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia.
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