Dr. Watts is currently the Director of the Department of Neuroscience and a Senior Scientist. Genentech Neuroscience is focused on developing therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Pain, and other neurological disorders. Genentech’s lead Alzheimer’s program, crenezumab, was developed in collaboration with AC Immune and the Watts Lab. Crenezumab is currently in Phase II clinical testing and was selected for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, a study designed to test anti-Abeta therapies in individuals with genetic mutations that invariably lead to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Watts’ own lab is exploring the blood-brain barrier, with a focus on large molecules traversing this physiological barrier. These efforts have led to a discovery of a way to boost antibody uptake in brain by molecularly engineering bispecific antibodies with one arm binding to transferrin receptor. The Watts Lab is also elucidating the molecular nature of Alzheimer’s human genetic discoveries, including the recent characterization of a mutation in APP that is protective in Alzheimer’s disease.
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