UCL Innovation and Enterprise


Eisai and UCL Reach First Scientific Milestone in Neurodegenerative Disease Drug Discovery and Development Collaboration

27 June 2016

Validation of a novel therapeutic concept marks a first step towards a new therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The first scientific milestone in the validation of a novel therapeutic concept for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders was recently achieved by leading researchers from UCL (University College London) and Eisai. This represents the first step towards the development of a potential new drug aimed at treating the underlying cause of disease in an area where significant unmet medical need persists.

Eisai and UCL

The development is made possible through an innovative collaboration between two world-leading scientific institutes, UCL, world leaders in neuroscience research, and the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai, which has a strong heritage in the discovery and development of treatments for neurological conditions. Eisai’s Neurology Business Group (NBG) Open Innovation strategy aims to identify and establish truly collaborative alliances which aim to bring novel and innovative therapeutics to patients.

“Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias represent a growing unmet medical need due to lack of effective treatments that can prevent disease progression. I am excited that our first project has reached this important milestone – hopefully the first of many. This builds on many years of partnership and collaboration with Eisai”, comments Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences.

The alliance with UCL forms a major part of Eisai’s NBG UK Open Innovation strategy to explore collaborative drug discovery partnerships which augment and complement internal activities. UCL and Eisai formed this major collaboration in 2012 to discover and develop novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other related neurodegenerative disorders. In 2014, Eisai was named UCL Enterprise Corporate Partner of the Year in recognition of the company’s commitment to exploring new ideas and paths to drug discovery in neuroscience through 'Open Innovation' with the world-leading academic institution.

“Eisai is extremely proud of the ‘Open Innovation’ strategy that is exemplified by our long-standing partnership with UCL. Through this collaborative effort we bring together leading scientists to help us discover new solutions for people with these life-changing illnesses. In particular new treatment options are needed for people with dementia where one new case is diagnosed every 3.2 seconds. The milestone achieved by this project, which is aligned to our Proteinopathy focus area, is the first step on this road”, said Teiji Kimura, Chief Discovery Officer, Neurology Business Group, Eisai.

Eisai and UCL are committed to working together to translate research findings into products that will have a tangible, positive impact on society. The strategic alliance between UCL and Eisai combines research excellence, drug discovery expertise and clinical insight.