Galenea Awarded Two SBIR Grants to Advance Innovative Approaches for the Discovery and Development of Effective Treatments for Schizophrenia
CAMBRIDGE, MA– September 28, 2011, Galenea Corp. has been awarded two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to further their work towards discovering and developing breakthrough therapeutics for the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. These latest awards from the National Institute of Mental Health will support two independent projects through the end of 2013 and qualify Galenea to compete for larger Phase II awards in 2014.
The first grant entitled “In Vitro Tools for Preclinical Analysis of Cognitive Therapies for Schizophrenia” addresses one of the most significant challenges facing central nervous system (CNS) drug discovery today, namely, the development of preclinical assays that accurately model human cognitive processes. Building on previous developments at Galenea, this grant will permit the company to fully deploy an in vitro brain slice screening platform exploiting the conservation of brain circuitry and functionality between rodents and humans. Galenea will use this technology to evaluate the desired electrophysiological effects of novel pro-cognitive therapeutic candidates on cortical neural networks for schizophrenia.
A second grant entitled “Novel Serotonergic, Pro-Cognitive Antipsychotic Therapies” will support Galenea’s ongoing small molecule schizophrenia drug discovery program. The funding will be utilized to optimize compounds discovered at Galenea that have both 5-HT2C receptor agonist and 5-HT6 receptor antagonist activity. Our goal is to identify a molecule that will effectively ameliorate both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia and also have an improved side effect profile when compared to the current antipsychotics therapies.
Mark Benjamin, DSc, President and CEO, said “Neuroscience research remains one of the most challenging and exciting frontiers in drug discovery. Given the recent dramatic decline in funding for neuroscience research, both from venture and pharmaceutical sources, we are thrilled to have obtained these grants to progress our programs”. He added “The unmet medical need in neuropsychiatry remains enormous and Galenea is committed to developing therapeutics based on innovative approaches; we are grateful for continued NIH support”.
Galenea is a leader in the rapidly emerging field of synaptic transmission (ST), the process by which neurons communicate with each other. Dysfunctions in ST are now widely believed to play a central role in many psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and modulators of ST therefore have the potential to yield breakthrough treatments. Galenea has developed an innovative ST drug discovery platform that integrates three components: MANTRA™, a high throughput, proprietary screening technology to identify a new generation of small molecule modulators of synaptic transmission; in vivo models using integrated EEG measures of animal behavior to more reliably determine CNS drug efficacy; and human EEG biomarkers, developed in tandem with and informed by our animal EEG data to greatly enhance CNS drug development. The company is advancing a novel pro-cognitive program derived from the platform and the approach can be extended to address multiple CNS disorders. Based in Cambridge, MA, Galenea has assembled a compelling scientific team, balancing academic aptitude with industry experience and entrepreneurship. For more information about Galenea, please visit the company’s website at www.galenea.com