Underlying disease biology
Lundbeck’s research and development is aimed at enabling the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals targeting the underlying mechanisms of brain diseases. This requires comprehensive research in the biology and the mechanisms of the diseases, as well as improved understanding of research targets and clinical outcomes. Over the years, we have built a broad and robust platform within psychiatry and neuro-degeneration, which allows us to use small molecules, antibodies and vaccines in the development of new medicines that can treat symptoms more effectively and potentially also alter the course of the diseases.
Lundbeck’s long experience and continuous work within diseases of the brain has provided us with a strong global network in preclinical and clinical neuroscience research. It is essential for us to maintain our strong internal research and development capabilities and to build external alliances to supplement our internal capabilities, taking advantage of the increased opportunities provided by innovative technologies.
Together with other companies and academia Lundbeck is involved in efforts towards the discovery of molecules and biomarkers within brain diseases. Reliable biomarkers are only known to a certain degree. Most progress has been made in neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease but less for psychiatric conditions. No laboratory blood test or brain scan can yet distinguish whether someone has e.g. depression or bipolar disorder. With reliable biomarkers, the prediction that a new drug candidate interacts with its target and potentially interferes with disease progression, would significantly improve. This would thereby reduce the high attrition rates of New Chemical Entities (NCEs) in clinical development for brain diseases.
Lundbeck also joined the personal genetics company 23andMe, Inc. and the think tank The Milken Institute in a large new study to increase the understanding of the underlying causes of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and bipolar depression. This study further explores how these diseases and brain functions such as attention and decision-making are related to genetics.
Another example is our participation in the RADAR-CNS collaboration with the scope to develop new ways of monitoring conditions such as MDD, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis using wearable devices and smartphone technology. Such widely available devices can reveal a patient’s current condition, remotely, at previously unachievable levels of detail.
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Our R&D strategy provides a future platform from which Lundbeck can discover and develop drugs with clearly documented effects on biologically defined patient groups. This is not least based on our digital approach to optimize the treatment of brain diseases. It is expected that society’s demand for these new types of drugs will increase.
Recently, however, a large-scale analysis of postmortem brains is revealing distinctive molecular traces in people with psychiatric disorders*. An international team of researchers has reported that five major psychiatric disorders have patterns of gene activity that often overlap but also vary in disease-specific - and sometimes counterintuitive - ways. The findings might someday lead to diagnostic tests and novel therapies.
Our R&D organization
As a medium-sized pharmaceutical company, we share common values in the way we work worldwide and keep a clear focus in our R&D strategy. Research at Lundbeck is based on the efforts of our multi-disciplinary, empowered project teams, our in-house expertise in the brain disease area and our state-of-the-art technologies. We work in new, well-equipped laboratories. In each project team, we integrate our advanced knowledge in R&D disciplines with expertise in clinical practices and therapeutic needs.
Our R&D organization is international and consists of more than 800 dedicated R&D staff. The research organization is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Development headquarters are also situated in Copenhagen, Denmark with clinical research and regulatory personnel spread worldwide.
Respect for the individual
In Lundbeck, we work together as individuals towards common goals. We seek to constantly develop and improve our scientific and personal skills and qualifications. This allows us to promote career opportunities for the individual, as well as maintain and develop our competencies as an organization. Publication of our scientific results is a natural part of our participation as active members in the international scientific community.
Development of a new pharmaceutical product
No. of molecules / No. of patients
* Gandal et al., Science 359, 693–697, 2018