Eisai Plans Invests $100M in Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery Facility in Cambridge, Mass.

Neurology

Eisai Inc. is adding to its arsenal aimed at combating dementia. The company will launch the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery, which is aimed at using genetics to develop next-generation medicines targeting forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Eisai said it will commit an initial investment of $100 million over three years to launch the center, which will be located in Cambridge, Mass. The new center will specialize in immunodementia drug discovery. Eisai said it anticipates “substantially increasing” funding as the center’s pipeline develops. The center will be organized around four key functions: data sciences, immunodementia, discovery technologies and precision chemistry, the company said.

“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,” Ivan Cheung, chairman and chief executive officer of Eisai Inc. said in a statement. “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 expected to be operational by early 2019. When the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery is operational, the company plans to close its current facility in Andover, Mass. and shift operations to the new Cambridge facility. Nadeem Sarwar, president of the Andover Innovative Medicines (AiM) Institute, will lead the new site.

Over the past two years, Sarwar said the AiM Institute has focused on understanding how human genetics can help identify and validate therapeutic targets and their biomarkers. Additionally, Sarwar said the company has also learned how genetics can guide novel chemistry approaches to drug those targets.

“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,” Sarwar said. 

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