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Lundbeck, Foundation to Partner on Huntington’s Research

Illustration of brain (NIDA)

(National Institute of Drug Abuse)

The U.S. subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck A/S and the CHDI Foundation in Los Angeles will collaborate on research for a targeted therapy for Huntington’s Disease. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain, affecting a person’s functional abilities and causing movement, cognitive, and psychiatric disorders. Most people with Huntington’s disease develop symptoms in their 40s or 50s, and while there are treatments to help manage the symptoms, there are at present no treatments to prevent the decline associated with the disorder. Lundbeck cites World Health Organization statistics indicating 5 to 7 people out of 100,000 in western countries have Huntington’s disease.

Under the agreement, CHDI will conduct pre-clinical studies on a Lundbeck investigative compound. That research is expected to focus on the compound’s effect on P2X receptors that may be involved in Huntington’s disease. P2X receptors are membrane ion channels that open in response to the binding of extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that cells use for energy to power all their processes.

CHDI Foundation is a not-for-profit biomedical research organization that works with a network of scientists to discover and develop therapies for Huntington’s disease. The foundation’s research includes exploratory biology and clinical studies. Earlier this month the group announced a collaboration with the biotechnology company KineMed to develop new biomarkers for the progression of Huntington’s disease.

Lundbeck A/S, based in Denmark, specializes in therapies for brain disorders. In 2010, Lundbeck initiated its HD research initiative to identify and commercialize therapies that may slow or halt the progression of Huntington’s disease. The company’s U.S. subsidiary is located in Deerfield, Illinois.

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