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1 December, 2020 - 21:12 By Tony Quested

Cambridge-Japan alliance targets Parkinson’s and dementia

Wren Therapeutics in Cambridge UK and Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd are collaborating to advance the discovery of novel small molecules that target α-synuclein for the potential treatment of synucleinopathies including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Wren has created a novel network kinetics drug discovery platform that precisely quantifies the effects of small molecules on the protein misfolding and aggregation pathway that causes neurodegenerative diseases. 

Wren’s approach to synucleinopathies is focused on identifying novel small molecules that selectively control the aggregation process of α-synuclein, which is associated with the onset and progression of these diseases. 

The collaboration will use Wren’s network kinetics drug discovery platform alongside Eisai’s extensive experience in drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders, to accelerate the development of clinical candidates.

Dr Samuel Cohen, Wren’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to have formed this collaboration with Eisai, a company with a distinguished track record and company-wide commitment to providing innovative treatments for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. 

“We believe that by combining our unique, predictive and quantitatively driven platform with Eisai’s deep expertise in neurology we can together advance highly differentiated small molecules targeting α-synuclein for the treatment of debilitating protein misfolding disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.”

Dr Teiji Kimura, VP, chief discovery officer of the Eisai Neurology Business Group, added: “Synucleinopathies such as dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease represent a significant unmet medical need due to the lack of any effective disease-modifying treatments. 

“The accumulation of α-synuclein oligomers with protein misfolding is an important hallmark of these diseases. The Wren team, with its world-renowned founding scientists, is pioneering a new and fundamentally different approach to addressing protein misfolding diseases. 

“By integrating capabilities across both companies we expect this exciting collaboration to be uniquely successful in identifying novel disease-modifying therapeutics for patients suffering from dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.”

Wren is a spin-off company from the University of Cambridge and Lund University (Sweden), focused on drug discovery and development for protein misfolding diseases. 

Its entirely novel approach to address this class of diseases is based on more than a decade of research from its scientific founders.

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