PsychoGenics, Afraxis partner to offer Enhanced Spine Platform technology

Afraxis and PsychoGenics today announced an alliance to offer Afraxis' Enhanced Spine Platform (ESP) technology as part of PsychoGenics' comprehensive testing capabilities and drug discovery services. ESP rapidly assesses the quantity, morphology and maturity of dendritic spines, structures that mediate signaling in neural synapses, and can be used to evaluate disease models and in vivo preclinical efficacy and safety of therapeutics for central nervous system (CNS) and other disorders.

Abnormal dendritic spine quantity and morphology have been associated with numerous CNS disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Fragile X syndrome and autism. Evaluation of the effect of drug candidates on dendritic spine morphology can be a meaningful predictor of human efficacy, but conventional approaches to dendritic spine analysis are slow and cumbersome. The ESP technology is substantially faster than conventional methods and can evaluate as many as 250,000 dendritic spines per month. The approach used in ESP technology can simultaneously evaluate spine quantity and morphology in multiple brain regions.

"I believe that ESP offers a powerful approach to drug discovery in CNS diseases, and we are pleased to partner with Afraxis to offer this technology to our fee-for-service clients and partners," said Emer Leahy, Ph.D., President and CEO of PsychoGenics. "This expansion of PsychoGenics' service offerings enables our clients and partners to identify drug candidates with a higher likelihood of success in a time and cost efficient manner."

ESP technology is highly adaptable to many CNS disease models and can be used as a high-throughput complement to PsychoGenics' behavioral and physiological assays to assess disease models, preclinical drug efficacy and dosing regimens for future studies.

"ESP is a robust platform for drug discovery in CNS diseases that generates highly reproducible results through large data sets and redundant analysis using objective spine morphology classification criteria," said Jay Lichter, Ph.D., President and CEO of Afraxis. "Afraxis developed ESP to characterize potential drug candidates for our own discovery program in Fragile X syndrome, and now partnering with PsychoGenics allows us to offer the technology to other companies pursuing CNS drug discovery."

Source: PsychoGenics Inc.

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