CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Galenea Corp., a leader in the rapidly emerging field of synaptic transmission, today announced that The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) will provide $6 million in an equity investment to support the development of Galenea's innovative pro-cognitive discovery program and the selection of a clinical candidate for the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. The funding is expected to advance the therapeutic candidate through the submission of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The program includes a proteomics collaboration with the Broad Institute as part of a broader effort being undertaken by The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. This center was created by a grant from SMRI. Dr. Edward Scolnick, who founded the Broad Institute's Psychiatric Disease Program, currently serves as the Center's Chief Scientific Officer. The proteomics collaboration will be led at the Broad Institute by Dr. Steven Carr, director of the Proteomics Platform.
Mark Benjamin, DSc, President and CEO of Galenea, said "We are delighted about this funding from SMRI and the collaboration with the Broad Institute. A core objective of SMRI is the development of treatments for schizophrenia, and we therefore view their investment in Galenea as an endorsement of our cutting-edge approach to identifying novel therapeutics. We truly appreciate the support."
Galenea's proprietary technology, the MANTRA™ (Multiwell, Automated NeuroTRansmission Assay) system, enables direct high throughput screening of synaptic function in cultured primary neurons from mice and rats, and in neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Changes in synaptic function are now believed to play a central role in many psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Galenea is using the MANTRA™ system to characterize synaptic dysfunctions in disease models and to identify signatures of therapeutic compound classes. A lead series of compounds discovered using the MANTRA™ system has demonstrated efficacy in several animal models of memory and schizophrenia. This program, which also receives significant support from NIMH, should deliver an IND candidate in 2015.
"We expect the collaboration with the Broad Institute to lead to significant advances in the application of proteomics to neuroscience drug discovery," said David Gerber, PhD, Vice President of CNS Research at Galenea. "We have made significant progress in identifying modulators of synaptic transmission since we developed and validated our MANTRA™ screening technology, and the funding will enable Galenea to progress a novel therapeutic candidate for schizophrenia to the clinic."
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.
The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) is a nonprofit organization that supports research on the causes and treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), both through work carried out in its own laboratories and through support of researchers worldwide who are working on these diseases. SMRI has provided over $400 million in funding since 2001. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are major psychiatric disorders in the United States, affecting more than 4 million people.
About the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community.
Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to www.broadinstitute.org.
SOURCE Galenea Corp.