The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Servier Laboratories to collaborate
15 October 2012: (media release) Les Laboratoires Servier, a leading European pharmaceutical company and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health together with its collaborative partners, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Monash University, today announced a collaborative agreement over the role of Insulin-Regulated AminoPeptidase (IRAP) in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
IRAP is a novel target for the therapeutic treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. The role of IRAP in memory was originally identified at the Florey Institute by Dr Siew Yeen Chai, now at Monash University, while subsequent work in collaboration with Professor Michael Parker of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research has shown that inhibitors of IRAP may potentially have disease modifying effects in Alzheimer’s disease.
The Australian research teams have committed significant resources to obtain in vivo Proof-of-Concept for IRAP in models of Alzheimer’s Disease, and have generated valuable know-how and intellectual property. To advance the IRAP program towards its clinical potential, Florey and its collaborators have chosen to partner with Servier Laboratories to gain access to Servier’s expertise in drug discovery and development of CNS therapeutic agents. This agreement was facilitated by Bio-Link Australia Pty. Ltd., a life sciences commercialisation company.
The collaboration will initially focus on further understanding the therapeutic potential of IRAP in models of neurodegenerative disorders, and for the development of a High-Throughput Assay for the identification of novel drug candidates that inhibit IRAP activity. The program of research will involve laboratories at Monash University and St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research as well as Servier’s Neuroscience Research Unit located within the Institut de Recherche Servier.
Under the terms of the Agreement, the Florey and its partners will receive from Servier annual support for research activities undertaken as part of the collaboration and support for researchers to work on the IRAP project, and Servier will receive an exclusive option to license the IRAP program once agreed research milestones have been met.
Professor Geoff Donnan, Director of the Florey said “The Florey is delighted that a groundbreaking piece of work from our scientists and collaborators has the opportunity to be partnered with Servier with the promise of new medicines being developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease.”
Emmanuel Canet, M.D. Ph.D., President of Servier R&D, commented that Servier is dedicated to the research and development of novel therapeutic for the treatment of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, saying, “This collaboration between Servier and the Florey, Monash University and St Vincent’s Institute brings together unique expertise in neurological and psychiatric disorders and drug discovery. It is a pleasure to continue this relationship, and to expand on the research commitments we have already established within Australia.”
Bernard Marchand Ph.D., General Manager of the Institut de Recherche Servier, commented “The Florey and its partners have performed tremendous efforts in understanding the role of IRAP in the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease. We consider that IRAP may have potential as a target of therapeutic importance in the development of neurodegenerative diseases and it is the task of this collaboration to validate this belief and provide a platform for the identification of novel therapeutic agents acting on IRAP.”
Servier is the leading independent French pharmaceutical company with a 2011 turnover of €3.9 billion. The Servier Group is established in 140 countries with its main therapeutic products used to treat diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, CNS disorders, oncology and rheumatological diseases. More than 25% of Servier's revenue is invested in Research & Development. Servier has 20,000 employees worldwide, including nearly 3,000 in R&D. For further information, please visit www.servier.com.
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Heath is one of the world’s top six brain research centres. It is the largest neuroscience and mental health research team in Australia. The Florey employs 550 research and support staff and educates 150 post-graduate students each year.
Neuroscientists work on a range of diseases including stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, motor neuron disease, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, addiction, depression and other mental illnesses. The Florey is a world leader in imaging technology, stroke rehabilitation and epidemiological studies.
Florey research teams are located in new $204 million purpose-built facilities adjacent to two tertiary hospitals, providing exceptional opportunities for translational research.
About St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research
St Vincent’s Institute (SVI) conducts medical research into the cause, prevention and treatment of high-impact diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, bone diseases and Alzheimer’s. SVI is affiliated with St. Vincent’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne.
About Monash University
Established in 1958 Monash University is now Australia's largest university with more campuses across the world than any other Australian university. We have six local campuses throughout the state of Victoria, as well as two international campuses – one in Sunway, Malaysia and another in South Africa. We also have international centres in the People’s Republic of China, Italy and India and our recent new alliance with the University of Warwick (UK) is expanding our global network.
Monash has always been a university with research at its centre. Our researchers make an impact across more than 150 fields of study and we judge our research not only by its academic excellence, but by the impact it has throughout the world. In just over 50 years, we have developed a strong reputation for producing research that has an influence well beyond the academic community. We possess an enviable record of making discoveries that have a significant and lasting impact in Australia and around the world. Today we pursue a research agenda based on excellence, relevance and – above all – impact.