Pharma Majors Join Parkinson’s Initiative

24.02.2016 -

Major drugs firms AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Eli Lilly are among seven of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies that have joined a new consortium to improve clinical trials for Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological disease. The Critical Path for Parkinson’s, which also includes AbbVie, Biogen, Merck & Co and UCB,  was formed in October 2015 by Parkinson’s UK and the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) to increase investment into researching and developing new treatments for the condition.

The consortium hopes to make clinical trials smarter so they are more likely to deliver new treatments. Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said that despite significant advances in understanding the genetics, biochemistry and pathology of the disorder, the development of new therapies has lagged.

 “Investing in clinical trials for brain disorders currently carries a high cost and high risk of failure,” Roach explained, adding: “We see the consortium as a crucial part of strategies to develop new treatments that work at the earliest stage of the condition, with the goal of slowing its progression and eventually finding a cure.”

Diane Stephenson, executive director of the Critical Path for Parkinson’s, stressed that the design of a clinical trial is a crucial part of a drug’s success. “There is a strong realization from the industry that collaboration among industry, academia, and worldwide regulatory agencies, along with the sharing of data, has the potential to create a more efficient development process,” she said. Parkinson’s UK, a research and support charity, has committed more than £1 million to the consortium.