News Feature | April 7, 2014

Daiichi Sankyo Partners With UCSF To Develop Neurodegenerative Drugs

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Daiichi Sankyo announced that it has entered into a drug discovery partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to develop new therapeutics and molecular diagnostics for a number of neurodegenerative diseases.

The collaboration aims to synergize Daiichi Sankyo’s drug development capabilities with the expertise of UCSF’s world renowned neuroscientists. Both parties will carry out optimization and high-throughput compound screening using Daiichi Sankyo’s compound library. The project will target debilitating disease areas such as Parkinson’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Alzheimer’s, among others.

“This is a golden opportunity. These diseases require a big-picture approach, and that’s what Daiichi Sankyo is taking. Alzheimer’s alone kills as many people every year as cancer does, but it only receives one-tenth of the funding that we dedicate to cancer research. This collaboration won’t fill that funding gap, but it will offer the tremendous value of Daiichi Sankyo’s scientific expertise to make progress on these diseases,” said Stanley Prusiner, MD, who received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of a new biological principle of infection called prions.

 Under the terms of the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will provide research funding as well as milestone payments and royalties for successful clinical progression and commercialization of new products developed from the collaboration. The company will also gain the option to enter into an exclusive license agreement with UCSF to develop and market promising compounds.

Glenn Gormley, CEO and Global Head of Research and Development, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., said, “Daiichi Sankyo is committed to identifying potential new therapies to help fuel our passion to find medicines for the patients who need them. Using the compound screening technology at UCSF, along with their expertise in prion research, will give us an opportunity to explore the potential.  I am excited about this collaboration and look forward to seeing results of this partnership.”