LONDON, July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AstraZeneca and Dr. Steven Paul of Weill Cornell Medical College today announced a first of its kind research alliance that brings four leading academic research laboratories together with AstraZeneca to study a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, the apolipoprotein E4 genotype (ApoE). Members of the newly established collaboration with AstraZeneca, called the A5 alliance, include Dr. Paul of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute at Weill Cornell, Dr. David Holtzman of Washington University in St Louis, Dr. Peter Davies of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Dr. Cheryl Wellington of the University of British Columbia.
ApoE is considered second only to age as a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease. However, drug discovery efforts involving ApoE have been hampered by challenging biology and a lack of in-vivo models. The A5 alliance members represent a team of academic scientists with expertise in ApoE biology who will focus on identification, validation, and risk reduction of drug targets for treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Steve Paul, principal academic collaborator for the A5 alliance and director of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute and professor of neuroscience, psychiatry and pharmacology at Weill Cornell, said: "The formation of the A5 alliance represents a unique academic-industry partnership whereby these Alzheimer's disease experts will link their labs together and work closely with a pharmaceutical company to unlock the science behind ApoE in order to discover new disease-modifying drug targets. We are convinced that ApoE represents a major piece of the Alzheimer's disease puzzle and that each member of the A5 alliance brings a critical piece of that puzzle to the table."
Dr. Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca, said: "In February, AstraZeneca initiated a new, flexible approach to neuroscience that would allow us to tap into the most exciting science and discoveries that exist in labs around the world. The A5 alliance, under the leadership of Dr. Paul, is a prime example of the great minds we hope to bring together in the search for new medicines to help people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders and pain."
Under the terms of the A5 alliance, AstraZeneca will fund the academic research and members of AstraZeneca's Neuroscience Innovative Medicines unit will contribute programme management and scientific expertise. The academic alliance members will contribute their disease area knowledge and expertise, as well as lead specific aspects of the research programme in their laboratories.
Notes to Editors:
About Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear after age 60, and Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. The National Institutions of Health National Institute on Aging suggests that as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease.
AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukaemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 5th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centres. For more information, visit www.FeinsteIninstitute.org
About The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America's largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world's 40 best universities. UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through more than 7,000 grants.
About Washington University School of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
About Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances - including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu