MD Anderson announces strategic collaboration with Denali Therapeutics to research and develop targeted therapies for neurodegenerative diseases

By: Clayton R. Boldt, Ph.D.
| Published 02/20/2020

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HOUSTON, TX -- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced a strategic research collaboration with Denali Therapeutics Inc. to develop novel therapies for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Through this agreement, Denali will collaborate with researchers in the Neurodegeneration Consortium (NDC) at MD Anderson to investigate four therapeutic targets, with the goal of advancing novel small-molecule product candidates into clinical testing.

Neurodegenerative diseases, which affect millions of Americans, comprise a range of indications marked by deterioration of neurons in the human brain, explained Jim Ray, Ph.D., director of the NDC.

“Our team at the Neurodegeneration Consortium is committed to advancing novel therapies that will translate into effective treatments for patients suffering from a variety of neurodegenerative diseases,” said Ray. “We at MD Anderson are pleased to work with Denali to investigate new therapeutic targets for these indications, with the goal of answering significant unmet medical needs.”

The NDC is a multi-institutional initiative launched to better understand the biology of neurodegenerative diseases and translate that knowledge into effective therapeutics interventions. Established in 2012 by an inaugural $25 million gift from the Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Family Foundation, the NDC brings researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai together with drug discovery and development experts from MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division.

The Therapeutics Discovery division is a drug discovery and development engine created within MD Anderson to bring impactful new therapies to patients quickly, safely and effectively. The team works closely with MD Anderson clinicians and researchers to develop novel small molecules, biologics and cell-based therapies, driven by insight from patients.

“Within Therapeutics Discovery, we are motivated to bring new therapies to the patients who need them,” said Ray. “Collaborations such as this are critical in helping us to realize our mission, and we look forward to working toward future benefit for patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

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