Takeda announces research collaboration in ALS with Montreal Neurological Institute

Program to seek much-needed new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), currently fatal for 80 per cent within 2 to 5 years of diagnosis1

OAKVILLE, Canada I December 4, 2017 I A research collaboration for much-needed new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) was announced today by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI).

ALS is a very serious illness that affects more than 200,000 people around the world, including 3,000 in Canada. It inhibits communication between the brain and the muscles of the body, resulting in patients losing the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and, eventually, breathe. At present, 80 per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis, demonstrating the great need for new advancements.1

"Takeda is very pleased to be collaborating with the Montreal Neurological Institute, a world-renowned centre for CNS research," said Ceri Davies, PhD, Head of the Takeda CNS Drug Discovery Unit. "We are dedicated to innovating in CNS and are particularly interested to be working with the MNI in an area such as ALS where there is a high unmet need."

The Takeda/MNI partnership will focus on ALS drug discovery by developing and examining multiple cell assays from ALS patients over the next three years (2017 to 2020) with significant investment from Takeda. The MNI is a global leader in neurological research and is the largest ALS clinical trial centre in Canada, with cutting-edge patient-driven technologies and knowledge. Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan, is investing heavily to develop new central nervous system (CNS)-related treatments to add to its existing portfolio. The focus for Takeda Canada will be to continue to deliver better health for Canadians through leading innovations its focused therapeutic areas.

"This new collaboration in ALS research in Canada is evidence of Takeda's commitment to support vital drug discovery work in Canada that has the potential to have a positive impact on the lives of patients," said Chatrick Paul, General Manager, Takeda Canada Inc. "Partnerships such as this bring to the forefront the extraordinary drug research talent and expertise that exists in Canada."

The research will be conducted under the MNI's Open Science Policy, by which basic science findings are made openly available to any other researchers. Takeda will be able to leverage the findings to contribute to the company's innovative development of new ALS treatments. The program has been developed in conjunction with the Structural Genomics Consortium at MaRS Toronto which Takeda has been supporting since 2012.

"We are very pleased to be participating in this new collaboration with Takeda in ALS research," said Dr. Guy Rouleau, Director, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. "We are hopeful that the fundamental research conducted through this program and made openly available to scientists around the world will accelerate much-needed new treatments for this very serious condition. This is an important milestone for the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute (TOSI), recently created at the MNI."

In conjunction the announcement of the new research collaboration, the MNI is hosting a panel discussion today, December 4, on "Open Drug Discovery: Challenges and Opportunities." Dr. Rouleau will be joined by Aled Edwards, PhD, Director, Structural Genomics Consortium; Keisuke Hirai, Senior Director, CNS Operations, CNS Drug Discovery Unit, Takeda; and Akiyoshi Kunugi, Director, CNS Drug Discovery Unit, Takeda. The panel is moderated by Dr. Edward Fon, Scientific Director, of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Leader of TOSI's Open Drug Discovery Platform.

About Takeda
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available at takeda.com.

Takeda Canada, located in Oakville, Ontario, is the Canadian sales and marketing organization of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Takeda Canada is working towards being an agile, best-in-class specialty healthcare provider. Additional information about Takeda Canada is available at takedacanada.com.


    1 ALS Canada, What is ALS? Accessed November 17, 2017, at: https://www.als.ca/about-als/what-is-als/

SOURCE: Takeda Canada Inc.

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