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Eisai teams with Genomics plc for collaboration
TOKYO—Eisai Co., Ltd. and Genomics plc, a genome analytics company spun out from Oxford University, have announced the establishment of a collaborative agreement under which they will apply Genomics' statistical analyses of large-scale multi-phenotype genetic association data to inform Eisai's drug discovery process, including target selection, target validation, indication selection and repositioning. Genomics will work with Eisai's new Integrated Human Genomics (IHGx) Research Unit, which operates under the supervision of Eisai Product Creation Systems' chief clinical officer.
“Genomics is excited to be working with one of the world's leading research and development-based pharmaceutical companies in the rapidly growing area of genomic analysis. This exciting new area promises to potentially make a positive difference to medicine,” John Colenutt, CEO of Genomics, commented in a press release.
“Genomics' research work with Eisai will demonstrate the real value that powerful analyses of large genomic databases can add to drug development pipelines,” added Prof. Peter Donnelly, a director and founder of Genomics.
Eisai's IHGx Research Unit focuses largely on neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancer immunity, through a combination of quantitative, wet-lab biology and chemistry experience as well as an autonomous and collaborative R&D innovation unit.
“Eisai is delighted to be working with Genomics,” Dr. Nadeem Sarwar, director of the IHGx Research Unit, said in a statement. “Genomics' founders are internationally recognized leaders in the analysis and interpretation of human genetic data. This collaboration is another indication of Eisai's commitment to leveraging genomic knowledge to accelerate the discovery and development of impactful new medicines.”
In other recent news for Eisai, the company released results of a joint research study, which also appeared online in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring on March 31. The group was led by Prof. Takeshi Ikeuchi of the department of molecular genetics within the Brain Research Institute at Niigata University. Through their research, the group found that the amount of plasma desmosterol was found to be highly correlated with longitudinal cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients. This discovery came about as part of the group's efforts to develop a blood-based biomarker for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.
The team analyzed plasma samples from 400 Japanese individuals—200 Alzheimer's patients and 200 age-matched, cognitively normal elderly individuals—and measured the amount of plasma desmosterol in the blood via mass spectrometry. They noted a significant decline in plasma desmosterol/cholesterol in patients with Alzheimer's compared to the cognitively normal individuals, and noted that this factor also seems to be highly correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination scores, which are used to assess cognitive function.