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Lundbeck teams up with Lieber Institute

Published on 03/04/14 at 08:56am
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Lundbeck has entered into a new partnership with the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in the hope of discovering new treatments for schizophrenia.

The US-based Lieber Institute is an independent, non-profit research public-private partnership organisation that holds the world’s largest collection of human brains.

By comparing knowledge on the biology of brain disease in the 1,300+ brains at the Institute, researchers at Lundbeck hope to take ‘decisive steps’ towards new and better treatment of schizophrenia.

This collaboration will specifically look at helping Lundbeck’s researchers create new and better treatments for schizophrenia.

Lundbeck’s business attention has been primarily focussed on disorders of the central nervous system, and it currently co-markets schizophrenia treatment Abilify (aripiprazole) with its Japanese partner Otsuka.

This latest joint project provides the company with the opportunity to investigate how genes affect brain development and disorders of the brain, in the hope of creating a next-gen version of Abilify.

Based on knowledge of the biology of brain disease, researchers will be able to look at the brains of both sick and healthy individuals and establish a picture of how the biology of the disease can be expressed.

Kim Andersen, VP of research for Lundbeck, says: “We are excited to be involved in this project because, for the very first time, we will have the opportunity to study the impact that genes have on the development of human brain tissue in the areas of the brain that are connected with schizophrenia.

“This will increase our understanding of what is going wrong in the diseased brain and also improve our chances of developing new drugs.”

Reversing the brain drain

“Our goal in creating this collaboration with the private industry is to speed discoveries that may improve the lives of individuals suffering from brain disorders,” explains Daniel Weinberger, director and chief executive of the Lieber Institute.

He adds: “This consortium is a bold initiative with the potential to have broad relevance across the spectrum of human brain disorders. By uniting diverse scientists from different sectors, we have created a new model of cooperative research that is designed to accomplish ambitious goals with efficiency and focus.”

In addition to Lundbeck, the project also involves five other pharma companies: Astellas, Pfizer, Roche, AstraZeneca and Lilly.

Researchers from these otherwise competing companies will openly co-operate with researchers from the Lieber Institute on advancing brain-science, and only there after start competing on developing new medicines.

Ben Adams 

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