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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2012

EISAI AND UCL FORM MAJOR DRUG DISCOVERY ALLIANCE TO DEVELOP NEW THERAPEUTICS FOR NEUROLOGICAL DISEASES

Eisai Co., Ltd.
University College London

Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President & CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) and University College London (UCL) announced today that they have entered into a new agreement to establish a major drug discovery and development collaboration. The unique alliance will involve researchers from both organizations working together to investigate innovative new ways of treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other related disorders. The goal of the collaboration will be to identify and validate novel drug targets, develop new therapeutics and evaluate them in proof-of-concept clinical trials.

This will be the first time that joint research is conducted by a partnership involving a public institution in the United Kingdom and a pharmaceutical company. UCL and Eisai will form a Therapeutic Innovation Group (TIG) that will comprise experienced scientists from both UCL and Eisai, with the principal function of facilitating and coordinating the discovery and assessment of emerging therapeutic targets involved in neurological diseases. The TIG will also be responsible for the co-development of completely new research areas of interest. A Joint Steering Committee (JSC) will be established to govern the TIG and will be co-chaired by UCL’s Professor Alan Thompson and Eisai’s Neuroscience Unit President, Dr. Lynn Kramer.

UCL carries out world-class research into the genetic and mechanistic causes of neurodegenerative diseases. It also has a wealth of expertise in clinical translation and this collaboration is expected to involve scientists and clinicians at UCL’s new Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre located in Queen Square, London. An alliance with UCL also forms a major part of Eisai’s Open Innovation initiative to explore external ideas and paths to drug discovery through partnership. Eisai will provide drug discovery and development resources and know-how, assay development capabilities and medicinal chemistry expertise. In addition, Eisai has extensive experience in regulatory and clinical expertise through successful drug launches of neurological medicines. UCL will also receive milestone payments as projects progress and, in addition, royalties on therapies successfully brought to market.

Dr. Lynn Kramer, President, Eisai Neuroscience Product Creation Unit, said, “Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease represent a significant unmet medical need due to lack of effective treatments that can prevent disease progression. UCL is a world-class academic institution with specialized research capabilities and we expect this exciting partnership to be very successful. In this unique collaboration, we hope our complementary expertise will identify potential new drug targets that we can bring to market and make available to patients that need it the most.”

Professor Sir John Tooke, Vice-Provost (Health) at UCL, said, “This is a genuinely new way of collaborating on pharmaceutical research for UCL, with exciting implications for research with the potential to lead to step changes in the treatment of diseases that affect the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s. It will already build on many years of close working and collaboration with Eisai, which I am confident will lead to the development of much-needed, new effective therapeutic agents.”

Commenting on the partnership, Professor Stephen Caddick, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL, added, “UCL is committed to working with partners who have a shared vision to translate research findings into products that will have a tangible, positive impact on society. This strategic alliance between UCL and Eisai combines research excellence, clinical insight and commercial expertise, which will undoubtedly improve prospects for development of new treatments for patient benefits.”

[ Please refer to the following note for further information on University College London. ]

Media Inquiries
Public Relations Department
Eisai Co., Ltd.
TEL: +81-3-3817-5120
Media Relations (UCL Enterprise)
University College London
TEL: +44 (0) 207 679 9063

< Notes to editors >

1. About University College London

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), UCL was rated the leading research university in London, and third in the UK overall, for the volume of research judged to be ‘of world-leading quality’.

According to the Thomson Scientific Citation Index, which catalogues journal articles and citations in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities, UCL is the second most highly cited European university and 15th in the world. UCL enjoys the lowest overall student to academic ratio of any public UK university. UCL is among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 25,000 students from 150 countries, and over 9,000 employees. UCL’s annual income is over £800 million.

For more information about UCL visit http://ucl.ac.uk/about-ucl