In a transaction announced this week, Vanderbilt has licensed the compounds to Karuna Pharmaceuticals in Boston, Mass., for further development leading to human testing.
All current anti-psychotic medications act by binding to serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain to help control hallucinations and delusions, but they provide little relief of other serious symptoms, including social withdrawal and the inability to pay attention or make decisions. As a result, many patients have difficulty holding a job or living independently. In addition, current drugs have serious side effects.
The new Vanderbilt compounds work in a fundamentally different way than existing medications, by inhibiting glycine transporter one (GlyT1), an action that allows for more normal function of brain cells involved in schizophrenia.
“The potential of these new compounds to ameliorate the devastating social and cognitive deficits of schizophrenia, which do not respond to currently available medications, is very exciting,” said National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
The novel compounds were developed by Jeffrey Conn, Ph.D., and Craig Lindsley, Ph.D., co-directors of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD), and their colleagues in the VCNDD, part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with VCNDD to help these drugs realize their full potential, to bring a valuable new treatment to patients and families suffering with this disabling disease,” commented Karuna CEO Edmund Harrigan, Ph.D., former executive vice president of Worldwide Business Development at Pfizer.
Schizophrenia is a chronic disabling mental illness that affects more than 3 million Americans according to the NIMH, and 24 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The worldwide market for antipsychotic drugs exceeds $20 billion a year.
The Vanderbilt GlyT1 inhibitors were discovered and developed with support from the NIMH, which in 2010 awarded Vanderbilt a five-year, $10 million grant to establish a National Cooperative Drug Discovery and Development Group, targeting new schizophrenia therapies.
The work is now sufficiently far enough along to hand off to Karuna Pharmaceuticals, a Boston- based company focused on developing breakthrough therapies for schizophrenia.
Conn and Lindsley’s colleagues in the Vanderbilt Center For Neuroscience Drug Discovery on the schizophrenia program include Carrie Jones, Ph.D., the center’s director of in vivo pharmacology; Colleen Niswender, Ph.D., director of molecular pharmacology; and J. Scott Daniels, Ph.D., director of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics.
It can cost over a billion dollars to bring a drug to market. Cuts in health care reimbursement for medications could make it even more difficult for pharmaceutical companies to recoup that investment. Some firms already are downsizing their research operations as patent protection ends for some of their best-selling brand name products.
That’s where academic medical centers can help. Vanderbilt is uniquely positioned to undertake early stage drug discovery, in part because of its strength in clinical pharmacology, its investment in research infrastructure including high-throughput screening, its ability to attract government, foundation and corporate support and its recruitment of top-notch scientists.
“This work shows how publicly funded basic research can foster the identification of novel medication targets and promising candidate compounds that industry can then take forward,” Insel said. “It is a wonderful example of translational research with the potential to change lives.”
Bill Snyder | Newswise Science News
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering