Pharming of The Netherlands says that its DNage BV subsidiary has entered into a Parkinson and Alzheimer disease research consortium with Belgium’s Solvay.

Under the terms of the agreement, DNage and Solvay will collaborate with eight academic groups on a four-year project which will have a budget of 6.8 million euros. This will be supplemented by some 3.4 million euros from pharmaceutical research institute TI Pharma, while the remaining costs will be divided among the other partners in the consortium.

Pharming said that the project entails “a large-scale, groundbreaking effort to identify target molecules that can serve as the basis for the development of novel medicines for Parkinson and Alzheimer disease”. DNage will use its accelerated ageing mouse models based on its intellectual property linking DNA damage to the development of ageing diseases and Pharming claimed that these animal models “provide excellent opportunities and unique tools for in-depth analysis of the onset and progression of neurodegeneration and moreover, allow pharmaceutical intervention studies at any stage of neurodegeneration”.

The consortium will further have access to a large collection of human Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s brain tissue, and through “integration of multidisciplinary expertise and innovative technologies”, the partners aim to identify dysregulated genes and proteins that may serve as potential drug targets or biomarkers relevant for these serious diseases.

The partners added that the current market value for neurodegenerative diseases is worth over 12 billion euros per year and is anticipated to grow “by an unprecedented amount”.