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The road to effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been challenging, but one company refuses to give up.

Neurodegenerative diseases like AD present a frightening — and growing — healthcare crisis. It is estimated that 6 million Americans are living with AD today — and that number is expected to grow to more than 13 million by 2050. Despite this urgency, research into therapeutic options for AD has been slow to yield results.

Eisai, a human healthcare company, has been at the vanguard of AD research for more than 35 years and believes the scientific community has gained a better understanding of the disease in that time — and that understanding may lead to the company’s goal of one day eradicating neurodegenerative diseases altogether.

The stealth disease

“One of the greatest challenges in diagnosing and treating AD is the insidious nature of the disease,” says Michael Irizarry, M.D., vice president and deputy chief clinical officer of the Neurology Business Group at Eisai. “The microscopic changes in the brain that lead to dementia begin years, even decades before clinical symptoms like memory loss and behavioral changes appear.”

Therapeutic intervention in the preclinical stages of the disease, before the onset of symptoms, may provide an opportunity to maintain the brain’s biological equilibrium and cognitive function — but historically, diagnosis of AD is delayed until symptoms appear, often in later stages of the disease.

Eisai’s approach has been to reject a “one size fits all” method and instead pursue a focused, pathophysiology-guided strategy targeting several key aspects of the disease. As a result, Eisai is studying novel biomarkers that may be used to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases, potentially identifying the optimal patients for new therapies. But it is not just the patients themselves who benefit. The goal is to transform the lives of everyone impacted by neurodegenerative disease, including both patients and their families and caregivers.

Commitment to care

“AD is a complex disease and the limited therapies available may not work the same for every individual,” notes Irizarry. “There is a need for additional treatments for AD. Eisai’s portfolio aims to develop more therapy options to patients.”

A crucial aspect of this is their human healthcare mission (hhc). The corporate philosophy states, “We give first thoughts to patients and their families and strive to increase the benefits that healthcare provides.” Eisai sees itself as part of a larger community of patients, caregivers, and researchers striving to not only treat and possibly prevent and cure this terrible disease, but to support and care for those dealing with it.

That philosophy inspires the company to focus not just on studies and research, but on empathy, understanding, and addressing the true needs of patients and caregivers. That in turn leads Eisai to strive not just for AD treatments, but for prevention.

An example of this commitment is the Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery (G2D2) opened in 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first research center focused on immunodementia. By leveraging the human genetic code, researchers there hope to deliver breakthrough therapeutics to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases like AD. Furthering this commitment, Eisai partners with and supports AD-related charities and advocates like Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity to help patients and their caretakers deal with the emotional devastation of AD.

Brain health

The future of AD doesn’t depend on a single line of research — or solely on breakthrough new medicines. 

“Eisai is exploring digital technologies, artificial intelligence, data science, societal trends, and psychological insights in their quest to help people understand their own risk factors and take preventive action where possible so they can live their lives to the fullest,” said Ivan Cheung, president of the Neurology Business Group and Chairman of Eisai Inc.

For example, Eisai recognizes the importance of overall brain health and has pursued precision brain solutions. The company is currently co-developing a cognitive tool that will let individuals not only self-assess their brain performance but also incorporate preventative measures into their daily routine.

Eisai’s vision is clear: A world free of neurodegeneration. 

To learn more about Eisai and the work being done in AD, please visit us.eisai.com. To find the latest information about Neurology at Eisai, please visit the new Neurology Linkedin page that demonstrates our commitment and leadership in the field of neurology.


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