Neuropsychiatric Drug Discovery
This article was originally published in Start Up
Despite the challenges of neuropsychiatric drug discovery, focused research into CNS pathways has raised hopes that R&D can be rationalized sufficiently to lower risk. A new generation of biotechs is about understanding the neural mechanism of disorders and then finding compounds that address the mechanisms.
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Biocortech was established in November 2001 to commercialize the fruits of the founders' research into the underlying causes of treatment-resistant forms of CNS diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. The company's aim is to develop effective therapies for these and other diseases associated with the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, such as bipolar disorder and cognitive and sexual disorders.
DarPharma Inc. is targeting the overlooked D1 family of dopamine receptors in its quest to develop novel therapeutics for CNS and psychiatric disorders. The company is leading with two full D1 agonists for Parkinson's disease. Waiting in the wings are D1 receptor agonists for schizophrenia and memory and cognition disorders.
Afecta Pharmaceuticals Inc. is using its pharmacogenetic platform to match complex forms of neurologic and psychiatric illnesses with the chemistry of candidate drugs that can be rapidly developed for treating the illnesses. Afecta intends to identify compounds to serve unmet clinical needs and to partner with others to bring targeted compounds to market at significantly lower R&D cost than de novo discovery.