Eisai accelerates dementia drug discovery research

group of chemical scientists working at the laboratory.

Eisai is launching a special dementia discovery centre to boost development of next-generation medicines targeting forms of the condition, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The new Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery (G2D2) facility is part of 10-year investment plan for research involving integration of human genetics, with an aim to introduce a compound into the clinic by 2020.

Using genetic information, G2D2 is aiming to control neural inflammation, which is a primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias along with amyloid beta (Aβ) and tau, and bring about further progress in defeating these conditions.

G2D2 will make full use of functional genetic analysis of dementia, and will engage in immuno-dementia drug discovery research focusing on neural inflammation and the immune system based on strong human evidence, with multiple proteins expressed on microglia as drug discovery targets.

The new 50,000-square-foot facility is being constructed in the Alewife Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is expected to be operational by early 2019.  It will be headed by Nadeen Sarwar, the current president of Andover innovative Medicines (AiM) Institute.

The centre will be organised around four key functions: data sciences, immuno-dementia, discovery technologies and precision chemistry.

Sarwar said: "Innovations in human genetics and related sciences enable the discovery and development of novel therapeutics with increased odds of success."

"Over the last two years, at the AiM Institute as well as through our network of external collaborators, we have focused not only on how human genetics can help identify and validate therapeutic targets and their biomarkers."

"Our goal is to discover next-generation targeted immuno-dementia therapies to complement and go beyond targeting A-beta and tau."

A pioneer in successfully developing and marketing AD treatments, Eisai has spent more than 33 years working on the development of potential AD treatments, including Aricept.

The company's extensive pipeline consists of several assets with the potential to address the total care of patients with dementia, including modifying underlying disease, cognition and supportive care.

Last week, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly’s lanabecestat showed it was unlikely to meet primary endpoints during clinical trials, according to an independent data monitoring company.

In April this year, vTv Therapeutics has also failed in Alzheimer’s disease, after a phase 3 trial of azeliragon missed its two main goals.

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Piotr Wnuk