Eisai Co., Ltd. has entered into an industry-academia-government joint research agreement with four universities in Japan concerning the "Industrialization of Japan-originated Toll-like receptor research by Academia-Industry collaborating All-Japan system: Creation of new drug for SLE treatment", a research project with Eisai as the representative research organization. In this project, Eisai aims to create a Japan-originated therapeutic drug for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) through industry-academia-government collaboration, using its in-house discovered new oral Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) 7/8 inhibitor E6742.
SLE is a designated intractable autoimmune disease that causes various organ disorders involving the disorders of the skin and the musculoskeletal system. The estimated number of patients with SLE in Japan is 60,000 to 100,000. Current treatments are corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine, and an immunosuppressant, but the development of new effective therapeutic agents with fewer side effects is needed.
TLR7/8, a member of the TLRs-family of receptors, is associated with the pathogenesis of SLE, suggesting the possibility of controlling SLE by a TLR7/8-specific inhibitor. E6742 has selective and potent inhibitory activity against TLR7/8, and is expected to potentially become a new therapeutic agent for SLE.
Eisai will conduct the clinical development of E6742. In addition, the research institutes for TLR and SLE research in Japan and Eisai's research subsidiary KAN Research Institute will carry out an academic-driven clinical observational research in order to clarify the pathogenesis of SLE.