Biogen and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., have formed 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 R&D of new PD treatments. The agreement will combine the clinical experience and data of the Institute with Biogen’s focus on neurodegenerative disease and approach to clinical development.
Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas, chief scientific officer at Biogen, said, “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 multiyear 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; and the potential identification of new therapeutic approval pathways.
The collaborative effort will be enhanced by information from the Institute’s Brain and Tissue Knowledge Bank, which contains patient biological samples, profiles, family health histories and clinical outcomes.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement-related disorder of the central nervous system. It is estimated that there are approximately 1 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.
Biogen will fund research activities by the Institute and provide strategic insight into research design, data analysis and program support.