artistic rendering of nerves within brain

The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development and Eikonizo Therapeutics Enter Agreement to Develop Treatments for Patients with Rare Diseases

PRINCETON, N.J. – (February 9, 2021) – The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC (MSRD), a member of the global Otsuka family of pharmaceutical companies, announces it has entered a collaboration agreement with Eikonizo Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company committed to creating life-changing therapies, to develop inhibitors of histone deacetylase-6 (HDAC6) focused on treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other diseases.


Under the terms of the agreement, MSRD and Eikonizo will collaborate to advance Eikonizo’s HDAC6 inhibitors through preclinical and Phase 1b clinical studies respectively, with the opportunity to expand the collaboration after those studies.


“We are dedicated to seeking out and supporting novel treatments for complex and rare diseases,” said Robert McQuade, Ph.D., president, McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, and chief strategic officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. “Based on our pre-clinical evaluation, we are hopeful that Eikonizo’s compounds can open up new treatment options for patients living with ALS and other rare diseases of high unmet need.”


“Eikonizo is discovering and developing novel small molecule therapeutics and leveraging companion target engagement technology to de-risk and accelerate development. We believe our approach and our brain-penetrant HDAC6 inhibitors could provide a transformative therapy for ALS,” said Janice Kranz, Ph.D., co-founder, CEO and president of Eikonizo. “We are delighted to collaborate with MSRD, honored that they recognize the potential of Eikonizo’s strategy and HDAC6-targeting platform, and excited to leverage MSRD’s experience and support to markedly accelerate development of our first therapeutic candidate into the clinic. Eikonizo and MSRD share values of innovation, scientific rigor and urgency to address unmet medical needs and thus make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives.”


About Eikonizo Therapeutics, Inc.

Eikonizo is a privately-held biotechnology company developing life-changing therapies by creating brain-penetrant small molecules and deploying in vivo target engagement techniques to accelerate the identification of therapeutics. Our first program is focused on a disease-modifying therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases. Eikonizo’s academic founder is Jacob Hooker, Ph.D., a chemical neuroscientist and Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Radiochemistry at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Eikonizo is funded by Kevin Kinsella (founder of Avalon Ventures), F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative (FBRI), Arclight Therapeutics LLC, and Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), among other investors. For information, please visit


About the McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD)

Established in 2019, by the Otsuka pharmaceutical business in the U.S., the mission of MSRD is to search for, identify, and fund innovative early-stage research and development programs that have the potential to build the future portfolio of Otsuka products.


Otsuka is dedicated to investing in innovative and creative products in areas of unmet need and MSRD was created as an extension of this commitment to support and identify early-stage opportunities that can change the landscape of treatments for mental illness and renal disorders.


For more information, please visit


About Otsuka

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.


In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.


Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies’ 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology, and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs. Otsuka’s most recently approved product in the U.S. is the first-ever treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder in which fluid-filled cysts develop in the kidneys over time, often leading to kidney failure.


OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 47,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 13 billion in 2019.


All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less travelled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.’s global website is accessible at .


Contacts for media

Otsuka In the U.S.

Robert Murphy

Corporate Communications

Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

[email protected]

+1 609 249 7262


Otsuka Outside the U.S.

Jeffrey Gilbert Leader,

Pharmaceutical PR

Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd.

[email protected]

+81 3 6717 1410



Janice Kranz

Eikonizo Therapeutics, Inc.

[email protected]

+1 617 302 6817


artistic rendering of pulse