Eisai and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have entered into a comprehensive research collaboration agreement aiming to create potential novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Washington University is world leading in research on prevention, diagnosis, biomarkers and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The two organizations have been collaborating in AD research. The Phase II/III Tau NexGen Study conducted by the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU), led by the University’s School of Medicine, is exploring the safety, tolerability, biomarkers and cognitive efficacy of Eisai’s anti-MTBR (microtubule binding region) tau antibody E2814 for the treatment of dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease (DIAD). In this study, the anti-amyloid beta (Aβ) protofibril antibody lecanemab (generic name, development code: BAN2401) was selected as the background anti-amyloid agent.
The collaboration strategically combines Washington University scientists’ expertise in the fundamental and clinical research in neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, with Eisai’s extensive experience in drug discovery and development. Using human biology, the aim is to create multiple novel therapeutic candidates as well as discover and identify biomarkers within the next five years. Eisai will have the option rights to develop and commercialize any compounds and biomarkers that meet certain criteria in terms of research and development milestones. In the case that Eisai chooses to exercise the options, Eisai will pay Washington University milestone payments and royalties on future sales of each licensed compounds.
Dr. Teiji Kimura, Ph.D., Academia and Industry Alliance Officer, Deep Human Biology Learning (DHBL) Office of Eisai, said: “Patients living with neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, struggle with critical unmet medical needs, which is the reason neurology is a key therapeutic area for Eisai. By collaborating with world-leading research institutions such as Washington University in St. Louis, Eisai is working to fulfill our human health care mission and provide potential new and targeted disease-modifying therapies with the ultimate goal of achieving a world free of neurodegenerative disease.”