Galenea Awarded $4.5 Million Grant for Advancement of Innovative Synaptic Transmission Screen

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding Supports Use of Functional Screen to Identify and Develop Novel Schizophrenia Therapeutics

Oct 14, 2010, 01:00 ET from Galenea Corp.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Galenea Corp. has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Institute of Mental Health in response to the solicitation "Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Director's Opportunity for Research in Five Thematic Areas (RC4)," funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Galenea has developed an innovative technology platform, termed MANTRA™ (Multiwell, Automated NeuroTRansmission Assay) that enables high-throughput screening for the identification of small molecule modulators of synaptic transmission.  

Synaptic transmission is the process by which neurons in the brain communicate and is fundamental to cognition and memory, among other brain functions. Multiple lines of research suggest that altered synaptic transmission contributes to the symptoms of schizophrenia.  Galenea will use the $4.5 million in funding over the next three years to advance its technology platform and to identify and progress novel compounds for the treatment of schizophrenia.  MANTRA™ also has significant drug discovery potential for many other psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases associated with impairments in synaptic transmission, such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease.

This is the second grant awarded to Galenea under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The first grant was awarded in October 2009 as part of the NIH Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research (RC1) and is currently supporting the development of a novel technology for measuring in vivo biomarkers that predict the activity of potential treatments for diseases associated with impaired cognition.  David Gerber, co-founder and VP of CNS Research, said "These two grants validate Galenea's innovative approach to increasing the success rate of drug discovery and development in the neuroscience field.  Drugs with new mechanisms of action are desperately needed to address psychiatric and neurological diseases, but have been extremely difficult to find.  MANTRA™ will enable us to identify new drug targets and new compounds based on their functional effects on neurons."  

Mark Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer, added "We are delighted that the NIMH has again recognized the pioneering research that is ongoing at Galenea.  Only through innovation will our industry find breakthrough medicines for patients suffering from the devastating effects of schizophrenia and other central nervous system diseases.  We truly appreciate the continued support of our programs by NIMH."

About Galenea Corp.

Galenea is dedicated to advancing the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.  Founded by Nobel Laureate Professor Susumu Tonegawa of MIT and Professor Maria Karayiorgou of Columbia University, Galenea is creating a premier CNS company focused on bringing new insights to the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics.   Galenea established a multi-year collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to discover new treatments for schizophrenia based on modulation of the calcineurin pathway.   Additional discovery programs are directed at addressing several fundamental needs in neuroscience research, namely the identification of new mechanisms of action, the improvement of in vivo models and the establishment of relevant biomarkers to guide clinical development.   Galenea is advancing both a 5HT6 antagonist program for cognition impairment associated with schizophrenia and a 5HT2C agonist for appetite suppression with the goal of generating best-in-class and first-in-class small molecules, respectively.   The company 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

SOURCE Galenea Corp.