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Approved Research

Genetics, endophenotypic, and epidemiological studies to support genetically-guided drug development at Eisai

Principal Investigator: Dr Michael Nagle
Approved Research ID: 84161
Approval date: September 14th 2022

Lay summary

The primary aim of this project is to identify novel genes associated with neurological traits measured within the UK Biobank to identify potential novel therapies which can be used to treat patients with diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease (AD). For example, novel genetic variants that are associated to a condition linked to AD may point to a target that is ideal for developing a therapy. Moreover, the genetic variants linked to an AD-linked trait or other neurological diseases can tell us more about the biological underpinnings of the disease, which in turn can also lead to novel markers that can be measured in patients to better understand their disease. A secondary aim of this study is to identify clinical measures that are associated with genetic variants that are known to increase or decrease a person's chances of developing AD. By studying the effects of these variants on risk of other diseases, traits, and clinical measures, we can learn more about the function of our genes of interest and understand the potential implications of modulating those genes. For example, if a rare genetic variant that reduces a person's chances of developing AD is also found to be associated with reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, a drug that is developed to treat AD might also work for Parkinson's. On the other hand, if the AD risk reducing variant is associated with increased blood pressure, treating AD by mimicking the effect of the variant might increase blood pressure. Thus, this analysis could identify new indications or potential side effects for a drug developed to treat AD or other disease. Finally, we aim to understand how patients with diseases such as AD manifest their symptoms over time, and the conditions these patients have which predate their AD disease onset. In this way, we hope to learn more about our patients before they have AD with the goal of identifying these patients early on to intervene with therapeutic intervention. We project these proposed analyses will take three years; however, as Eisai is always exploring new genes and mechanisms as treatment targets for neurological diseases, we are requesting approval for a rolling three-year period during which we will provide annual updates. Eisai places high value on publication of research results and will share results from this project through peer reviewed publications in scientific journals and presentations at scientific meetings.