Galenea Awarded RC1 Challenge Grant to Develop Predictive In Vivo Models of Cognition
CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 6th, 2009 -- Galenea Corp., a fully-integrated CNS drug discovery company, announced today that it has been awarded an NIH Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research (RC1) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). This two-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health addresses the specific topic of “Screening Approaches to Identify Pharmacologic Treatments for Mental Disorders” within the challenge area of Translational Science. The grant provides approximately $1 million to support the development of an innovative model for predicting the activity of potential treatments for impaired cognition in diseases such as schizophrenia. The program is part of Galenea’s ongoing effort to pioneer new practices for objective measures in CNS drug discovery.
Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness affecting about 1% of the global population. Currently available treatments can ameliorate some of the symptoms including the hallmark delusions and hallucinations but are not effective at treating the social isolation or the cognitive defects that afflict people with the disease. Traditional methods for assessing changes in cognition, such as impairments in attention and working memory, are very limited. This makes the development of new treatments for cognitive impairment very challenging. Galenea’s unique in vivo approach to evaluating potential drug candidates for their pro-cognitive effects could lead to novel therapeutics for schizophrenia and other psychiatric diseases.
“The award serves as an endorsement of our approach to developing revolutionary analytical tools for measuring neuronal function and thereby increases the likelihood that viable drug treatments will reach the market”, said David Gerber, Galenea’s founder and VP of CNS Research. “This technology is part of our broader proprietary platform for monitoring neuronal network activity. We believe our platform will generate drug candidates with truly novel modes of action and ultimately provide patients with more effective therapeutics.”
The National Institutes of Health received over 20,000 applications in response to this request. “Given the intense competitive nature of these stimulus grants, we are thrilled to have been selected for an award”, said Mark Benjamin, CEO of Galenea. “This funding will allow us to aggressively pursue this approach and potentially transform neuropsychiatric drug discovery.”
About Galenea Corp.
Galenea is a fully-integrated drug discovery company developing novel therapeutics for CNS diseases with a focus on psychiatric disorders. Galenea has licensed technologies developed in the laboratories of Professor Susumu Tonegawa of MIT and Professor Maria Karayiorgou of Columbia University Medical Center (formerly of The Rockefeller University) and based on the calcineurin pathway and its role in schizophrenia pathogenesis. Based on these discoveries, Galenea established a multi-year R&D collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to generate breakthrough treatments for schizophrenia and related disorders. In addition to the partnership with Otsuka, Galenea is building a proprietary technology platform based on profiling synaptic signatures of disease and advancing their selective 5-HT2C agonist towards the clinic. For more information about Galenea, please visit the company’s website at www.galenea.com.
For additional information, please contact:
Michael D. Rivard
Head of Corporate Development