Dementia Consortium signs new pharma partner Astex Pharmaceuticals

The Dementia Consortium, a unique charity-private partnership, today announced Astex Pharmaceuticals as a new member.


The Consortium is a £3.5m cross-sector drug discovery collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, MRC Technology and the pharmaceutical companies Eisai, Lilly and now Astex. Astex will bring not only knowledge and resource but additional capital investment to help fund projects. By uniting expertise, this focused investment will bridge the gap between academic research and the pharmaceutical industry, in the search for drugs that slow the development of neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia. The Dementia Consortium is open to global research teams and funds robust target validation and early phase drug discovery to accelerate progress through the translational research pipeline.

To date the Consortium has awarded around £800,000 of funding for research projects focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), the most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 50.

Dr Lee Dawson, Vice President of CNS at Astex, commented: “The biological mechanisms that underpin the pathology of dementia are incredibly complex, and new opportunities for possible therapeutic intervention can only be developed by pooling research knowledge and know-how from across academic, charity and industry sectors.  Astex is excited about becoming a partner in the Dementia Consortium and we look forward to applying our expertise in drug discovery and fragment-based drug design to this endeavour.”

Dr Simon Ridley, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “We are delighted to welcome Astex on board, to broaden ties with industrial partners and bring new perspectives to the Consortium. The collaborative model of the Dementia Consortium brings world leading expertise and capabilities together, to accelerate progress from academic laboratories across the world into much sought-after treatments in the clinic.”

For further information about the consortium please visit

About Astex Pharmaceuticals

Astex is a leader in innovative drug discovery and development, committed to the fight against cancer and diseases of the central nervous system.  Astex is developing a proprietary pipeline of novel therapies and has a number of partnered products being developed under collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies.  In October 2013 Astex became a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.  The Otsuka Group employs approximately 43,000 people globally, and its products are available in more than 80 countries worldwide.

For more information about Astex Pharmaceuticals, please visit

For more information about Otsuka Pharmaceutical, please visit

About MRC Technology

MRC Technology is an independent life science medical research charity committed to drastically improving positive patient outcomes everywhere.

As a champion for human health, MRC Technology partners with academic, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and charity organisations to move promising medical research forward into viable and accessible patient treatments. Our people combine commercialisation and IP management skills with diagnostic and drug discovery expertise, specialising in small molecule and therapeutic antibodies.

MRC Technology projects have led to the approved drugs Tysabri®,  Actemra®, Entyvio® and Keytruda®, changing the lives of countless patients by harnessing the potential of science.

About Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK)

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia.

ARUK is currently supporting dementia research projects worth over £26 million in leading Universities across the UK.

The Defeat Dementia campaign, a pledge to raise £100 million in five years to grow the research field and accelerate progress towards new treatments and preventions, was announced by the Prime Minister at the G8 legacy event on 19 June 2014. For more information visit


Trade media enquiries
Katie Odgaard
Zyme Communications
 E: katie,
 T: +44 (0) 7787 502 947

At MRC Technology
 Liezel Tipper
PR and Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)20 7391 2772

At Alzheimer’s Research UK
Emma O’Brien, Science Communications Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK
T: 0300 111 5 666


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