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Major New Review Supports the Broader Potential of CeNeS COMT,Inhibitor Discovery Programme

l series has been achieved by CeNeS scientists, and a number of discrete chemical series without the nitrocatechol group have been identified. The COMT inhibitor programme was carefully chosen by CeNeS in line with our strategy to have a low-risk profile and to address a clear commercial opportunity. A number of potent compounds are now being evaluated in the lead optimisation process, prior to selection of a development candidate.

About Parkinson's disease Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. It affects approximately 2 per cent of the population over the age of 65, representing approximately 4 million patients worldwide. Parkinson's disease results from a loss of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Replacement therapy using L-DOPA, the precursor of dopamine, is the main treatment for Parkinson's disease. However, L-DOPA is quickly metabolised in the gut and liver allowing only a small proportion (approximately one per cent) to reach the brain. Therefore, L-DOPA is formulated with agents that inhibit the breakdown of L-DOPA by DOPA-decarboxylase, such as carbidopa and benserazide. The enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) also causes significant depletion of L-DOPA in the brain and periphery, limiting the efficacy of L-DOPA replacement therapy. The global market for drugs targeting Parkinson's disease was $1.7 billion in 2003 and is forecast to grow substantially over the next decade with an increased prevalence of the disease as a consequence of the ageing population. COMT inhibitors currently have more than a 10% share of the Parkinson's disease market by value and their usage is growing.

About Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness characterized by disturbances such as hallucinations and delusions as well as a range of negative symptoms, including cognitive disturbances. Cognitive disturbances often prevent schizophrenia patients from readjusting to soci
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