HOUSTON. Amgen, the largest biotechnology company in the world, is funding research focusing on disorders that destroy parts of the nervous system. These include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. Medicines for disorders resulting from dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes are also under development. In both areas, Amgen licenses product candidates and technologies that complement its internal drug discovery and development programmes.

Advances in cellular and molecular biology are leading to the discovery and production of neurotrophic factors. These naturally occurring proteins protect and promote the growth of specific nerve cells. Neurotrophic factors bind to specific neuronal receptors thereby stimulating biochemical events in the cell that maintain or improve nerve cell function. Because of these properties, neurotrophic factors hold promise as treatments to halt and possibly even reverse nerve damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases.

Genomics research is providing growing support to...

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