Eisai Co., Ltd. and TorreyPines Therapeutics, Inc. have jointly announced the signing of a research agreement that focuses on the discovery of genes responsible for late onset Alzheimer's disease.
This latest agreement marks the continuation of Eisai's support for this program that began in 2001. A second collaboration agreement between TorreyPines and Eisai was signed in February of this year to support the discovery of small molecules that lower A-beta42, a peptide involved in the creation of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
In this latest agreement, the research program will focus on "unbiased genome-wide screening" of genes associated with Alzheimer's disease and will not depend on known biology, including the beta-amyloid hypothesis, enabling it to reveal the whole picture of the pathogenesis of the disease, as well as to identify genes associated with Alzheimer's disease from candidate genes discovered through the previous research collaboration.
Under the terms of this multi-year agreement, TorreyPines will receive a signing fee and full research support of its late onset Alzheimer's disease genetics program.
Eisai will have exclusive rights of first negotiation and refusal for gene targets discovered and validated through the research. Eisai and TorreyPines may enter into drug discovery agreements involving the gene targets.
The genetics program is part of TorreyPines' growing Alzheimer's disease franchise. The company's active research and development programs are directed at novel therapies that not only may relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease but also target the pathogenesis.
In addressing both the cause and symptoms, these therapies may have the potential to halt or reverse disease progression.
“We are proud to enter into this new research agreement with Eisai, demonstrating the validity of our approach and the strength of our collaboration with a recognized leader in the field of Alzheimer's disease research,” said Dr. Kurtz.
“TorreyPines and MIND are exploring innovative solutions to develop therapies that ameliorate or prevent Alzheimer's disease,” said Dr. Tanzi. “This new agreement reflects the continued confidence Eisai places in our research programs.”