Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and the UK Dementia Research Institute announce collaboration to accelerate advancements in gene therapy

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) today announce a collaboration to accelerate the clinical development of adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapies for dementia.

Since 2015, dementia has been one of the leading causes of mortality in the UK. Whilst new and improved treatments for heart disease and cancer are reducing mortality, a lack of effective treatment options for neurodegenerative conditions means that dementia-related deaths continue to rise. Through this collaboration, the CGT Catapult will work with UK academic centres of excellence and the UK DRI to identify new AAV-based gene therapies with high potential to become new medicines for dementia, assessing a wide range of assets in order to best address the significant unmet medical need. The collaborators will then create detailed development plans for each project and potentially conduct early research activities in order to prepare assets for further investment.

Over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and the number of people with dementia will continue to grow as the population ages. With no effective treatments currently available for any neurodegenerative conditions the UK DRI has been tasked with understanding the underlying biology of these diseases and translating innovative research into new treatments that have the potential to benefit people at risk of or living with dementia. The UK DRI’s partnership with the CGT Catapult leverages the expertise and resource of both organisations to accelerate the translation of novel gene therapy approaches to the clinic.

Matthew Durdy, CEO of CGT Catapult, said:

“Dementia is increasing, under-researched and has very limited treatment options. Cell and gene therapies have in the past shown to be highly effective in treatment areas where other therapies have had limited success. It is therefore vital that we fully explore how cell and gene therapies could be used to address this unmet medical need, and we look forward to working closely with the UK DRI to identify and accelerate the most promising therapies.”

Iraida Soria-Espinosa, UK Dementia Research Institute Senior Innovation and Business Manager said:

“Advances in gene therapy will enable us to make a huge difference for people affected by neurodegenerative disease. Our new partnership with the CGT Catapult is an exciting opportunity to combine our expertise to propel forward this promising area of research and identify new treatments.”

About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult is an independent innovation and technology organisation committed to the advancement of cell and gene therapies with a vision of a thriving industry delivering life changing advanced therapies to the world. Its aim is to create powerful collaborations which overcome challenges to the advancement of the sector. With over 400 experts covering all aspects of advanced therapies, it applies its unique capabilities and assets, collaborates with academia, industry and healthcare providers to develop new technology and innovation. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information, please visit ct.catapult.org.uk or visit http://www.gov.uk/innovate-uk.

About the UK Dementia Research Institute

The national UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) is the single biggest investment in dementia research in the UK. Established in 2017 by the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Institute is hosted across six leading UK universities: University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and King’s College London, with its central hub at University College London.

The UK DRI is working on ways to prevent, treat and care for people with all types of dementia, and ways to keep the brain healthy. The UK DRI is made up of over 750 researchers, confirming the UK as one of the best places in the world to study neuroscience. More info: www.ukdri.ac.uk