Daiichi Sankyo, UCSF strike deal to combat neurodegeneration

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is teaming up with Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo for a drug-discovery pact focused on tackling neurodegenerative diseases.

The collaboration will look at the role of prions, misfolded replicating proteins that were initially identified by UCSF scientists, and their role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will provide its compound library to the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Scientists at Daiichi Sankyo and UCSF will perform high-throughput compound screening and optimization to identify molecules for novel therapeutics.

The collaboration will create multiple drug-discovery programs in disease areas such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and frontotemporal dementias--all conditions for which no effective therapeutics exist.

The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed, but in a statement Daiichi Sankyo said it will provide research funding as well as milestone payments and royalties for successful clinical progression and commercialization of new products. Under the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will have the option to license, develop and commercialize promising compounds.

Daiichi Sankyo scientists from the company's biotech-like organization Venture Science Laboratories will work on-site at UCSF with researchers at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Venture Science Laboratories was established within Daiichi Sankyo's R&D division in April 2013 to help strengthen the company's drug discovery capabilities.

- read the press release

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