The FINANCIAL — Biogen and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center announced on July 27 the formation of a strategic alliance focused on enhancing the understanding of the underlying biology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the creation of novel tools and programs that could accelerate research and the development of new PD treatments. The agreement will combine the unique clinical expertise and data of the Institute with Biogen’s focus on neurodegenerative disease and approach to clinical development.
“As we work to tackle some of the most difficult challenges in neurodegenerative disease, we are committed to working with the world’s best researchers and institutions,” said Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas, Chief Scientific Officer at Biogen. “The Institute sees almost 2,500 Parkinson’s patients a year, has one of the largest repositories of patient information, and comprises leading clinicians in the Parkinson’s community. Combining their vast resources in PD and our capabilities in research and clinical development, we believe we can make important advances in understanding and ultimately discovering new treatment approaches for this devastating disease.”
The multi-year collaboration includes an array of PD-related activities designed to drive advances in basic science and treatment including:
Discovery of gene targets and modifier genes that might serve as novel therapeutic targets;
The creation of well-defined patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC);
A study of gastrointestinal symptoms related to PD;
A search for quantitative and symptom-based trial endpoints;
The potential identification of new therapeutic approval pathways.
The collaborative effort will be enhanced by rich information from the Institute’s Brain and Tissue Knowledge Bank, which contains patient biological samples, profiles, family health histories, and clinical outcomes.
“This is a unique opportunity for a leading biopharmaceutical company and a world-renowned research and clinical care institute to combine forces to make a significant impact on PD,” said Carrolee Barlow, CEO Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. “Biogen is a leader in innovative drug discovery and development, and the Institute is a globally recognized leader in the study and treatment of Parkinson’s, from basic science through clinical care. The Institute was founded on a unique model established over 25 years ago, and our collaboration with Biogen will significantly broaden and strengthen our efforts. Together, we anticipate that our work together will lead to innovations that will benefit all individuals living with Parkinson’s.”
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement-related disorder of the central nervous system. It is estimated that there are approximately one million Americans living with Parkinson’s. Each year, 50,000 new cases are diagnosed, and this rate is expected to rise with the aging population. A clear understanding of Parkinson’s and its underlying pathophysiology continues to be elusive as a result of the disease’s complexity, according to Biogen.
Under the terms of the agreement, Biogen will fund research activities by the Institute and provide strategic insight into research design, data analysis, and program support.