Eisai targets dementia drug discovery with US research facility

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Eisai says it is creating a research facility for ‘genetics-guided dementia discovery’ in the US and joining a Japanese industry-academia-government collaboration aimed at developing nucleic acid-based drugs.

The Japanese pharmaceutical firm has announced plans to establish a research facility focused on dementia – the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery (G2D2) – in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.

“G2D2 is aiming to control neural inflammation which is a primary cause of dementia along with amyloid beta (Aβ) and tau, and bring about further progress in defeating dementia,”​ according to the company.

Researchers hope to produce a compound ready for clinical development by 2020.

Eisai has a number of drug candidates in development for the treatment of dementia, including Ph III candidates Aducunumab, Elenbecestat, and BAN2401 in development with Biogen Inc​.

Lemborexant – a candidate designed to treat irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder and Alzheimer’s disease – is in Ph II development with Purdue Pharma​.

Nucleic acid drug discovery

Eisai has also announced that its research subsidiary KAN Research Institute will join an industry-academia-government agreement aimed at developing a Japan-originated nucleic acid drug.

“Nucleic acid drugs are medicines with a basic structure consisting of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA) or chemical modified nucleic acids, and are manufactured via chemical synthesis similar to small molecule drugs,”​ according to the company.

Collaborating research organisations include Japan’s Osaka University, The National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, GeneDesign, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Niigata University, and The National Cancer Center Hospital East.

Eisai is expanding its interest in the biopharmaceutical space. In April last year​, its US subsidiary Morphotex launched an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) services business, to offer conjugation and linker technologies to clients.

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