Galenea Announces Publication Describing High Throughput Screening System for Modulators of Synaptic Function
CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 6, 2011—Galenea Corp., a leader in the rapidly emerging field of synaptic transmission, today announced the publication of a paper in PLoS ONE demonstrating the development and validation of the MANTRA (Multiwell, Automated NeuroTRansmission Assay) system, Galenea’s proprietary technology that enables high throughput screening of synaptic function directly on cultured primary neurons. Changes in synaptic function are now believed to play a central role in many psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. The MANTRA system can identify both novel drug targets and compounds that modulate disease-related synaptic dysfunction and is expected to yield new mechanism-based therapeutics for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease and other CNS disorders. The paper appeared in the online October 5, 2011 edition of PLoS ONE.
David Gerber, PhD, Vice President of CNS Research at Galenea, commented, “Unbiased phenotypic screens of synaptic function using our MANTRA system should lead to breakthrough therapies for a number of debilitating disorders associated with synaptic dysfunctions. As an illustration of this potential, we have already used MANTRA to discover a new class of pro-cognitive compounds and are using this unique screening technology to progress this novel chemotype through in-house lead optimization”.
Current techniques for studying synaptic physiology are both labor intensive and low throughput, making the dissection of this complex biological process very challenging. For the first time in a peer-reviewed journal, Galenea documents the critical advances necessary for the development of a robust high-throughput synaptic function drug screening assay. The MANTRA system is capable of operating with exquisite sensitivity, precision, uniformity, and reproducibility. This capacity is exemplified in the manuscript by data from a set of pharmacologically defined compounds. Screening with MANTRA demonstrated that a number of these compounds mediate their pharmacological effects by specific and previously unknown actions on presynaptic function. The extension of the MANTRA system to genomic screening should uncover new drug targets that will impact not only basic neuroscience research but also drug discovery and development.
“This publication highlights the pioneering work performed by my collaborators at Galenea,” stated Timothy Ryan, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a co-author of the paper. “The MANTRA system is a major technological achievement and has significant applications for advancing our understanding of the synaptic dysfunctions associated with many CNS disorders.”
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
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Lisa Paborsky, PhD