Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Neuroinflammation collaboration targeting inflammasome steps-up-the-pace in race for Alzheimer’s disease medicines that alleviate the burden of devastating disease

Graphic of a brain © Alex Mit - Shutterstock

Exscientia, the leading AI Drug Discovery company, has today announced its collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute (ARUK-ODDI) to develop medicines targeting neuroinflammation for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

AD is the most common form of dementia worldwide, with an estimated 44 million people living with AD or related form of dementia [1]. Symptoms of this progressive disease are debilitating, distressing – for both those with the disease and their loved ones –and there is currently no cure [3].

This exciting new partnership unites Exscientia's AI-driven molecular design capabilities with the deep therapy area knowledge and technical expertise of the ARUK-ODDI.

The collaboration will focus on a specific neuroinflammatory pathway implicated in the development of AD. Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been shown to have an important role in AD pathogenesis and, while there have been other efforts to develop anti-inflammatory drugs for AD [4], targeting NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition in the brain is an innovative therapeutic approach.

Exscientia’s proven AI-driven technology will be applied to efficiently generate high-value novel clinical assets targeting this pathway. Feeding into this are chemical starting points that modulate NLRP3 inflammasome formation identified over years of research by the ARUK-ODDI. Coupling Exscientia's Centaur Chemist® AI-design systems with the ARUK-ODDI’s biology and screening expertise is expected to speed up delivery of distinct candidate molecules for AD.

Exscientia’s COO David Hallett commented: “Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease that affects tens of millions worldwide. Despite clinical trials of numerous agents over a wide range of mechanisms, the last new Alzheimer’s medication, was approved nearly two decades ago. Alzheimer’s drug development is costly, complex and extremely challenging with clinical trial failure rate being the highest of any therapeutic area. Our mission is to make safer, more effective drugs available to all and we are excited to utilise our AI drug discovery platform and work alongside the expertise of the Alzheimer’s Research UK-Oxford Drug Discovery Institute team to accelerate innovation and develop potential medicines to solve this global epidemic.”  

Expanding on this new relationship, Dr John Davis, CSO of the Alzheimer’s Research UK-Oxford Drug Discovery Institute drew attention to the benefits gained from the complementary capabilities of both partners: "We are delighted to be partnering with Exscientia. Their state-of-the-art AI capabilities will enable us to investigate multiple molecules in parallel and accelerate the project towards candidate declaration.  Human genetic variation points towards a critical role for the body’s immune system in an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  It is vital that we develop treatments that target neuroinflammatory mechanisms underlying dementia.”

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:
“Scientist’s at our ARUK-Oxford Drug Discovery Institute are ideally placed to capitalise on the latest discoveries and work with partners to help translate this into drugs that could be tested in clinical trials. With nearly one million people in the UK living with dementia, there isn’t a moment to waste.”

 

References

[1] World Health Organization. Fact Sheet. Dementia. Accessed 28 January 2021

[2] Alzheimer’s News Today. Accessed 28 January 2021

[3] NHS. Alzheimer’s Disease. Accessed 28 January 2021

[4] Immunity’s flipside: Microglia promote Alzheimer’s pathology during inflammation. Accessed 28 January 2021

Similar stories

PRINCIPLE Covid-19 treatments trial widens to under 50s and adds colchicine

Clinical Trials Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

From today, the UK’s national priority platform trial of Covid-19 treatments for recovery at home launches its investigation of the gout drug colchicine, and expands for the first time to include adults of any age.

Regular meat consumption linked with a wide range of common diseases

Research

Regular meat consumption is associated with a range of diseases that researchers had not previously considered, according to a large, population-level study conducted by a team at the University of Oxford.

New data show vaccines reduce severe COVID-19 in older adults

Coronavirus COVID-19 Research

New data show both Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines significantly reduce severe COVID-19 in older adults.

Singula Bio, a new Oxford spin-out company - Cancer need not be fatal

General Innovation Research

Singula Bio, a bold new seed-stage biotechnology company spun out of Oxford University, has been launched with the intention of helping show that cancer need not be fatal. Led by three Oxford cancer specialists, the firm is aims to become a world leader in therapies to use against difficult-to-treat solid malignancies such as ovarian cancer - using the body’s own immune system to fight previously fatal cancers.

Major rise in public support for COVID vaccine – Oxford study

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

More than three quarters of people in the UK now say they are ’very likely’ to have the vaccine – up from 50% among the same group of survey respondents five months ago –according to a two-wave Oxford University survey published today.