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Galenea Gets $6 Million Boost for Stem Cell-Based Schizophrenia Therapy

The funding is expected to advance the therapeutic candidate through the submission of an IND application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The program includes a proteomics collaboration with the Broad Institute as part of a larger 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.

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.

"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, Ph.D, 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."

This program, which also receives significant support from NIMH, is expected to deliver an IND candidate in 2015.

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