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Eisai extends neuroscience partnership with UCL

Published on 25/05/11 at 10:44am

Eisai and University College London are to extend their partnership in neuroscience research.

The Japanese company’s Neuroscience Product Creation Unit has been working with University College London (UCL) since 1990, and the partners are now deepening their collaboration.

Eisai Neuroscience PCU and UCL are to launch joint research projects in the neurodegenerative disease arena including biomarker research in three areas: neuroinflammation, neurovascular/mitochondria, and proteostasis related research. The two parties will begin the joint studies as early as the company’s 2011 financial year.

UCL’s London campus has long been home to an Eisai research facility, and joint research activities have included the exchange of personnel.

Eisai is to integrate its UCL research functions into its Eisai European Knowledge Centre, located in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. The partners say these changes will facilitate knowledge creation through an even deeper level of open innovation.

The partners say the new increased level of collaboration will let them to carry out some of the world's most advanced scientific research into neurodegenerative diseases.

UCL was ranked 4th overall in the world in terms of research in the QS World University Rankings 20101 and is home to the UCL Institute of Neurology, a leading-edge research institute specialising in neurodegenerative disease.

Eisai discovered and developed Aricept, the world’s biggest selling Alzheimer's disease treatment, but needs to follow up this success as the drug is approaching its patent expiry.

One drug that was developed through the partnership is now nearing the market. Perampanel is a new first-in-class treatment for epilepsy.  Eisai expects to file the drug in the US and Europe in the next few months.

The drug is a highly selective, non-competitive AMPA-type glutamate receptor antagonist, and will complement Eisai’s existing epilepsy treatments Zonegran, Inovelon and Zebinix. Analysts Decision Resources forecast that perampanel could earn peak sales of $250 million.

Andrew McConaghie

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