GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Tetra Discovery Partners LLC, a drug discovery company developing a portfolio of innovative drugs for neurological and inflammatory diseases, announced today that the company has entered into a drug development collaboration with the Broad Institute's Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research in Cambridge, MA. The focus of the collaboration will be to test the potential of Tetra's drug candidates for improving cognition in the Stanley Center's proprietary genetic models relating to schizophrenia.
The goals of the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are to discover the genetic and molecular underpinnings of psychiatric diseases and to contribute to improved treatments and diagnostic methods. The Stanley Center team uses the largest collection of DNA samples ever assembled from patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in order to scan the entire genome for gene variants that predispose to these illnesses. They use this knowledge of human gene variants to create the next generation of genetic models of schizophrenia. The mission of the Stanley Center is to decrease the burden of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia through research aimed at understanding the genetic and molecular basis of such diseases, discovering and testing biomarkers, and speeding the translation of new medicines to the clinic.
"The Stanley Center is pleased to work with an innovative young company like Tetra to better understand the potential of their compounds for treating memory impairment in schizophrenia," said Edward Scolnick, M.D., the Chief Scientific Officer of the Stanley Center. "There is a need to evaluate new drugs with new mechanisms of action in serious psychiatric diseases. We welcome the opportunity to work with Tetra to lay the groundwork to help meet that need."
"This collaboration between Tetra Discovery Partners and the Broad Institute's Stanley Center has brought together significant resources and people to discover the next generation of drugs to treat major psychiatric diseases," said Mark Gurney, Ph.D., Tetra's founder and Chief Executive Officer. "There is a need to better predict the potential efficacy of drugs with new mechanisms of action in translational models, and to better select patients for clinical trials. The team at the Stanley Center understands this challenge. This collaboration gives our schizophrenia program the highest chance of success." Dr. Gurney commented that a Tetra drug could be advanced into human clinical trials as early as 2015.
Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders characterized by three types of symptoms, positive (hallucinations, delusions), negative (lack of affect or emotions), and cognitive (attention, working memory). The only therapeutics approved by the FDA for schizophrenia are for the positive symptoms; there are no drugs approved for the cognitive symptoms. Approximately 75-85% of people with schizophrenia (about 2 million individuals) report a broad range of cognitive impairments such as decreased skill acquisition, ability to solve interpersonal problems, and community functioning.
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 http://www.broadinstitute.org.
About Tetra Discovery Partners
Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tetra Discovery Partners (http://www.tetradiscovery.com) uses structure-guided drug design to discover mechanistically novel, allosteric inhibitors of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). The company's research focuses on developing new treatments for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The company is a recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network cooperative research agreement, a $50 million program across 15 NIH Institutes and Centers. The Blueprint program supports drug discovery research collaborations with early stage biotechnology companies and academics to develop effective therapeutics for nervous system disorders. The company also receives major funding through the National Institute of Mental Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund.
Eric Nelson, Ph.D.
Vice President Business Development
Tetra Discovery Partners
(919) 332 9080
(415) 821 2413
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SOURCE Tetra Discovery Partners LLC