AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Eli Lilly are among seven major pharmaceutical companies linking into a “ground-breaking” consortium striving to streamline and accelerate the development of new therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

With fellow industry peers AbbVie, Biogen, Merck Sharp and Dohme and UCB, as well as project founders the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) and Parkinson’s UK, the group will share data, expertise and resources to fuel advances in treatments for the condition.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition affecting 127,000 people in the UK, for which there is no cure. 

“Despite significant advances in our understanding of the genetics, biochemistry and pathology of Parkinson’s, the development of new treatments has not kept pace,” said Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK. “New treatments are desperately needed to deal with the devastating effects of this progressive condition”.

The problem, he notes, is that investing in clinical trials for brain disorders “currently carries a high cost and high risk of failure”, underscoring the need for new approaches.

“There is a strong realisation from the industry that collaboration among industry, academia, and worldwide regulatory agencies, along with the sharing of data, has the potential to create a more efficient development process,” added Diane Stephenson, executive director, of the consortium. “This recognition is evidenced by the fast pace at which members of this new consortium have joined.”

Parkinson’s UK has committed over £1 million to the Critical Path for Parkinson’s consortium (C-Path), which was launched in October last year.