UCB and Baylor College of Medicine said today they have launched a strategic research alliance intended to discover new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The partners didn’t disclose the value of their collaboration or the specific neurological diseases for which the partnership would pursue new therapies.

Baylor and UCB said the research program is aligned with one of the key strategies of UCB NewMedicinesTM, namely focusing on the discovery of medicines targeting pathways with high levels of genetic and human validation.

The collaboration also reflects UCB’s focus on developing alliances with academic partners. The partnership will be led at Baylor by Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D., who in addition to being a professor there is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.

According to its homepage, Dr. Zoghbi’s laboratory “uses genetic, biochemical, and cell biological approaches to explore the pathogenesis of polyglutamine neurodegenerative diseases and Rett syndrome, and to study genes essential for normal neurodevelopment.” The partners said their collaboration will build on Dr. Zoghbi’s capabilities in using functional genetics in model organisms to identify therapeutic points of intervention for new medicines.

Central nervous system disorders are one of UCB’s two areas of R&D focus; the other is immunology diseases.