Leading Academic Scientists to Collaborate with AstraZeneca on Alzheimer's Disease Research
Weill Cornell's Dr. Steven Paul to Lead New A5 Alliance Studying Major Risk Factor for Alzheimer's Disease
NEW YORK (July 12, 2012) — Weill Cornell Medical College and AstraZeneca 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. Steven 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.
"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," said Dr. Paul, principal academic collaborator for the A5 alliance, director of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute and professor of neuroscience, psychiatry and pharmacology at Weill Cornell. "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."
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.
"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," said Dr. Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca.
"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.
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 thehuman 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.