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Eisai Commits Over $100 Million to New Dementia Discovery Center

Drug discovery through integration of genetics and precision chemistry.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Over 5.7 Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number is projected to increase to nearly 14 million people by 2050. Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart decrease have decreased by 11%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 123%. Alzheimer’s and other dementias will result in $277 billion in costs in 2018, a number expected to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050. Early and accurate diagnosis could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs. The FDA hasn’t approved a new drug for Alzheimer’s in 15 years.

Eisai, the US subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical giant Eisai Co. ESALY announced it will launch the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop next-generation medicines for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The Center will leverage Eisai’s recognized expertise in neuroscience and precision chemistry and be guided by emerging insights from human genetics to specialize in immunodementia drug discovery. Eisai has committed over $100 million as an initial investment over the first three years to build the new center, and anticipates substantially increasing funding as its pipeline develops over what is anticipated to be a 10-year investment period.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

The new 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to be fully operational in early 2019. At that time, Eisai will close its current Andover Innovate Medicines Institute and transition operations to the new Center in Cambridge. Nadeem Sarwar, president of the Andover Innovative Medicines Institute, will continue his leadership role at the new site, which will be organized around four key functions: data sciences, immunodementia, discovery technologies and precision chemistry.

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. With this commitment to R&D, our robust pipeline and Eisai’s successful legacy in Alzheimer’s disease 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.

– Ivan Cheung, Chairman and CEO of Eisai.

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 amyloid beta and tau.

– Nadeem Sarwar, President, Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery.

Eisai has spent more than 33 years working on the development of potential Alzheimer’s treatments, including Aricept. The company’s extensive pipeline consists of several assets with the potential to address the total care of patients with dementia, including modifying underlying disease, cognition and supportive care.

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