Eisai will launch the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery, which will harness the power of human genetics to develop next-generation medicines for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. Guided by emerging insights from human genetics, coupled with Eisai’s recognized strengths in neuroscience and novel chemistry, the Center will specialize in immunodementia drug discovery.
It will be located in a new, dedicated state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, Mass. Eisai plans to commit over $100 millionas an initial investment to establish the new discovery center over the first three years, and anticipates substantially increasing funding as its pipeline develops.
“By focusing on human genetics, our discovery labs have recently made rapid progress towards the next horizon of targeted immunodementia medicines. Recognizing this advancement, Eisai plans significant investment over the next 10 years in dedicated research funding to further accelerate human genetics-guided drug discovery at the new Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery in Cambridge,” said Ivan Cheung, chairman and CEO of Eisai Inc. “With this commitment to R&D, our robust pipeline and Eisai’s successful legacy in AD treatments, we believe we will be able to accelerate our efforts towards identifying the next-generation of dementia therapeutics to help millions of patients and their caregivers.”
The new 50,000-square-foot facility is being constructed in the Alewife Research Center in Cambridge, and is expected to be fully operational in early 2019. At that time, Eisai will close its current site in Andover, Mass., and transition operations to the new Center in Cambridge. Nadeem Sarwar, president of the Andover Innovative Medicines (AiM) Institute, will lead the new site.
The Center will be organized around four key functions: data sciences, immunodementia, discovery technologies, and precision chemistry.
“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, but also guide novel chemistry approaches to drug such targets,” said Sarwar.
“This integrated approach has yielded exciting drug discovery progress in a short time-frame, especially for immune targets in pathways highlighted by human genetics. Creation of the new Center in Cambridge provides Eisai with the opportunity to build upon these successes and take a leadership position in human genetics-guided drug discovery. We will apply our unique novel precision chemistry approach in the context of human genetics to deliver tailor-designed small molecule and anti-sense oligonucleotide solutions. Our goal is to discover next-generation targeted immunodementia therapies to complement and go beyond targeting A-beta and tau.”
The Cambridge biotech hub location has been strategically selected to enable Eisai to focus on and identify new scientific and business relationships for drug discovery, while providing the company with greater access and flexibility to foster its current collaborations with research institutes and strategic partners. Eisai already has a presence in Cambridge through its subsidiary H3 Biomedicine, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in precision cancer therapeutics.
According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, AD currently affects more than 5.7 million people in America, and results in an estimated $277 billion cost to the nation. Over 14 million Americans are predicted to be living with Alzheimer’s by 2050, which would have an estimated $1.1 trillion cost to the U.S.
(Source: Eisai Inc.)