Global healthcare company Eisai entered into a joint research agreement with Keio University, with a goal to find new drugs and therapies for the treatment of dementia.

The Eisai-Keio Innovation Lab for Dementia (tentative name) will be a base for industry–academia collaboration within Keio University's Shinanomachi campus (Shinjuku ward, Tokyo). The lab will be an integrated research site for clinical medicine and basic medicine and will be staffed by experienced researchers from both organizations. The Innovation Lab will perform three functions: clinical omics analysis, utilizing the latest mass spectroscopy technology; data science, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to identify new drug targets; and biological validation, which makes use of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to advance the study of drug target biology.

Keio University prides itself on unifying basic and clinical science to improve overall human health and longevity, with facilities such as the ambitiously named Center for Supercentenarian Medical Research. Keio University has also published extensively about its world-class research into human iPSCs. 

“The establishment of this innovation lab allows us to combine Eisai's accumulated experience of dementia drug discovery such as Aricept® (donepezil) with Keio University's supercentenarian medical research and dementia research, mutually boosting our competitive power, and culminating in an amazing opportunity to develop practical applications,” said Hideyuki Okano, dean of Keio University School of Medicine.

Eisai has a global network of research facilities and manufacturing sites, and several research pipelines, including neuroscience (e.g., neurology and psychiatric medicines), oncology (e.g., oncotherapy and supportive-care treatments), and vascular/immunological reaction. The company has over 30 years of research into drugs for the treatment of dementia.

“Dementia is one of the major social and medical issues in an aging society, and Eisai's mission is to contribute to overcoming this issue,” said Teiji Kimura, chief discovery officer of the Eisai Neurology Business Group. “Eisai's strengths are its computational technology, drug discovery, and biomarker research capabilities in the field of neurology. Through this Innovation Lab, we can collaborate with Keio University which has world-class iPSC technology and expertise in basic medical science and clinical science, leading to new innovations, and allowing us to get new treatments to patients as soon as possible.”