PALO ALTO, Calif., July 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Inscopix today announced a new research collaboration with Biogen to research and develop a new class of therapies for chronic pain. The collaboration builds on a study published in Science by leading pain researcher, Gregory Scherrer, Ph.D., and colleagues at Stanford University that identified the neural mechanism by which the brain encodes the unpleasantness associated with pain.
In the study, the Stanford team found a group of neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a structure deep within the brain, that is responsible for the affective, or emotionally unpleasant, component of pain. The BLA helps associate either positive or negative meaning to experiences encoded by brain signals, and earlier studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging have shown it to exhibit heightened activity during chronic pain in both humans and rodents.
Supported by Inscopix and Biogen, researchers in Dr. Scherrer's laboratory will now use Inscopix's miniature microscope-based brain mapping platform to elucidate the fundamental neural circuitry underlying pain unpleasantness. The research will investigate how candidate pain therapeutics, such as opioid analgesics and sodium channel blockers, might modify its encoding in the BLA neuronal ensembles. Inscopix will support the research with scientific personnel and its nVokeTM product, which enables simultaneous imaging and manipulation of neural activity in living brains. Biogen will retain rights to develop therapeutic candidates based on the findings.
"Dr. Scherrer's work focuses on one of the main problems faced by patients living with chronic pain, namely the emotional burden associated with experiencing pain," said Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Research and Development at Biogen.
Kunal Ghosh, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Inscopix, stated, "Our growth at Inscopix has been focused on empowering a new era in neuroscience with our brain mapping solutions. We are proud to continue to support this research in chronic pain alongside Biogen, as the Stanford team builds on its breakthrough published work."
According to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies, 86 Million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which costs the U.S. economy an estimated $635 billion annually.
nVoke is Inscopix's state-of-the-art miniature microscope-based solution for simultaneous imaging and manipulation of large-scale neural circuit dynamics in freely behaving subjects. With nVoke, researchers at leading research institutions worldwide are pushing the frontiers of neuroscience and asking entirely new questions about how neural circuits shape cognition and behavior in health and disease. For more information, please visit: https://www.inscopix.com/nVoke.
About Inscopix, Inc.
Inscopix empowers the development of next-generation therapeutics for difficult-to-treat brain disorders by enabling innovative research and predictive preclinical therapeutic development. Driven by a North Star of overcoming historic challenges in the field, Inscopix provides validated solutions for real-time mapping of neural activity in brain circuits. These objective, quantitative and in-brain assays are catalyzing unprecedented insights into disease mechanisms and have been shown to be more accurate at predicting clinical efficacy than animal behavior when testing a therapeutic candidate's capacity to bring the brain back to a normal state. Inscopix's partner and customer discoveries help decode the brain, inform deeper understanding of mechanisms of action and enable the screening of drugs based on efficacy. For more information, please visit http://www.inscopix.com.