Translational Research Office (TRO)


UCL and Eisai celebrate 10 years of a strategic partnership to tackle neurodegenerative diseases

9 September 2022

On 8 September 2022, UCL hosted a 10-year anniversary symposium to celebrate our fruitful 10-year partnership with Eisai. In 2012, UCL and Eisai entered a collaboration alliance to identify and validate novel drug targets across key processes in neurodegeneration.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL kick-started the 10-year anniversary symposium of UCL-Eisai Collaboration with an opening speech.

In the photo: Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL kick-started the 10-year anniversary symposium of Eisai-UCL Collaboration with an opening speech.

The two organisations have a long history of working together, but this was a new model in industry-academic collaboration. Spearheaded by the UCL Translational Research Office, which is driving sustained engagement with colleagues from Eisai’s Hatfield Research Laboratories in the UK, the ground-breaking Therapeutic Innovation Group combines the complementary capabilities and experience of Eisai and UCL.

Over one hundred colleagues across UCL and Eisai came together for an afternoon of insightful talks, networking and celebration on 8 September 2022. The celebration was attended by Mr Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai, and Eisai colleagues from the UK, Japan and the USA. Bringing everyone back together in person following the remote meetings during the pandemic was a delight and we were honoured to host such an event.

The event opened with Professor Alan Thompson (Dean, Faculty of Brain Sciences) welcoming everyone to the celebration. Talks included an update by Eisai’s Dr Malcolm Roberts on a tau therapeutic, the first clinical stage drug candidate to result from our joint research, which arose from a project co-led by Professor Rohan De Silva.

The tau therapeutic has been chosen by the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) as the first investigational anti-tau drug in their clinical studies.  DIAN is an international research partnership, led by Washington University School of Medicine, to test experimental therapies to slow the advancement of Alzheimer's. Tau plays a central role in disease progression, and the tau therapeutic targets a region of the protein believed critical for the aggregation and spread of this pathology. In the UK, Dr Cath Mummery is leading the clinical investigations conducted at the UCLH Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (NIHR UCLH Clinical Research Facility).

Anna Wernick and Emily Blackburn, two students from the Wolfson-Eisai PhD programme, presented excellent talks on their PhD projects and stimulated lots of discussions. The event was closed by UCL President and Provost Dr Michael Spence who remarked on the invested passion, friendship, motivation and trust that was clearly evident between the two parties.

The afternoon symposium was a fantastic event to showcase the success of our unique partnership which brings together UCL’s world-class academic research capabilities and Eisai's industrial drug discovery expertise. With the current collaboration due to end in December 2023, both parties emphasised their commitment to extending this exciting partnership.

Mr Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai at the 10-year anniversary symposium of Eisai-UCL Collaboration (8 September 2022).