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UCB, Epilepsy Society Partner to Study Genetics of Epilepsy

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — UK-based non-profit the Epilepsy Society and Belgian biopharma UCB announced today that they have formed an alliance to use whole-genome sequencing to study the genetics of epilepsy with the goal of developing personalized treatments for the condition.

Under the five-year project, the partners aim to generate and analyze sequencing data on epilepsy patients — particularly those who don't respond to existing medicines — to better understand the genetic mechanisms that drive the disease, as well as treatment response and patient experiences. UCB will contribute €2.5 million ($2.8 million) to fund the effort.

"Working together with the Epilepsy Society we now have an exciting opportunity to develop unique insights into this condition, which will provide a platform to inform our scientific and drug discovery approaches," UCB Chief Scientific Officer Dhaval Patel said in a statement. "We hope this collaboration could help in the development of tools to better identify difficult-to-treat patients earlier and, ultimately … tailored and targeted medicines."

In late 2016, UCB partnered with Evogen to develop a proteomics-based test for identifying epileptic seizures. And about a year ago, the drugmaker acquired Element Genomics — a Duke University spinout that develops technologies to further understand genome structure and functions — for $30 million.