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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2003

Eisai Co., Ltd. Establishes 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research'
Program at Kyoto University

Kyoto University
Eisai Co., Ltd.

Eisai Co., Ltd. Establishes 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research'
Program at Kyoto University

Kyoto University (Main Campus: Kyoto, President: Makoto Nagao) and Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President: Haruo Naito) announced that Eisai Co., Ltd. will establish a program entitled 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research' for drug discovery investigation in the field of neurology at Kyoto University. The program will be established at Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Kyoto University in April 2003.


The 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research' Program will conduct drug discovery research for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Currently, cholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA antagonist are used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors enhance cholinergic neurotransmission and improve cognitive function. NMDA antagonist protects neurons from neuronal cell death by inhibiting NMDA receptor activation. Leonora and monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B) inhibitor are used for treatment of Parkinson's disease. Levodopa, the metabolic precursor of dopamine, replenishes missing dopamine, and MAO-B inhibitors increase dopamine in the brain by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down dopamine. For multiple sclerosis (MS), interferon-b, an immunomodulatory agent, decreases the frequency of relapses in MS, and delays the onset of disability. These medicines have contributed greatly to improving the quality of life for patients suffering from these neurological disorders.


The aim of the 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research' Program will be to develop an original drug discovery method by integrating genetics research and brain cell regeneration technology via three main approaches:


1. Drug discovery research based on the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases.

Investigational research will be conducted based on the b-amyloid hypothesis, neurofibrillary tangles caused by the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, or other promising etiologically-based hypotheses.

2. Exploratory research on drug discovery seeds

Natural substances of animal or plant origin will be investigated to discover novel bioactive substances in order to obtain promising drug discovery seeds.

3. Drug discovery approach based on new technologies.

An original drug discovery method will be developed by integrating genetics research and brain cell regeneration technology, and causal therapies of neurodegenerative diseases will be pursued.

By establishing this program for the development of novel drug discovery strategy and technologies, Eisai Co., Ltd. aims to contribute to the education of experienced researchers, the field of neurology and society.

Outline of the 'Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research' Program
1. Location: Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University
2. Program title: Neuroscience for Drug Discovery Research
3. Grant: 250 million yen (50 million yen /year)
4. Period : April, 2003 - March, 2008 (5 years)
5. Director: Professor, Hachiro Sugimoto (incumbent Director of Discovery Research Laboratory 1, executive board members of Eisai Co., Ltd.)


Detailed Information
Professor Akinori Akaike Public Relations Department
Department of Pharmacology, Eisai Co., Ltd.
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 03-3817-5120
Kyoto University
075-753-4550