CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Galenea Corp., a leader in the rapidly emerging field of synaptic transmission, today announced the publication of a paper in PLoS ONE demonstrating the development and validation of the MANTRA (Multiwell, Automated NeuroTRansmission Assay) system, Galenea's proprietary technology that enables high throughput screening of synaptic function directly on cultured primary neurons. Changes in synaptic function are now believed to play a central role in many psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. The MANTRA system can identify both novel drug targets and compounds that modulate disease-related synaptic dysfunction and is expected to yield new mechanism-based therapeutics for schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, autism, epilepsy, Huntington's disease and other CNS disorders. The paper appeared in the online October 5, 2011 edition of PLoS ONE.
David Gerber, PhD, Vice President of CNS Research at Galenea, commented, "Unbiased phenotypic screens of synaptic function using our MANTRA system should lead to breakthrough therapies for a number of debilitating disorders associated with synaptic dysfunctions. As an illustration of this potential, we have already used MANTRA to discover a new class of pro-cognitive compounds and are using this unique screening technology to progress this novel chemotype through in-house lead optimization."
Current techniques for studying synaptic physiology are both labor intensive and low throughput, making the dissection of this complex biological process very challenging. For the first time in a peer-reviewed journal, Galenea documents the critical advances necessary for the development of a robust high-throughput synaptic function drug screening assay. The MANTRA system is capable of operating with exquisite sensitivity, precision, uniformity, and reproducibility. This capacity is exemplified in the manuscript by data from a set of pharmacologically defined compounds. Screening with MANTRA demonstrated that a number of these compounds mediate their pharmacological effects by specific and previously unknown actions on presynaptic function. The extension of the MANTRA system to genomic screening should uncover new drug targets that will impact not only basic neuroscience research but also drug discovery and development.