Three Harvard neurobiologists have devised a large-scale assay to screen for drugs that are capable of enhancing the growth of brain cells. These drugs not only help normal brain cells grow better, but many further restore the health of injured cells. This assay can screen thousands of drug compounds routinely and this proprietary drug screening platform is the first of its kind in industry.
What is unique about Neurox Pharmaceuticals’ screening method is that it uses authentic brain cells to determine real connections between the brain cells. Also, the screening results are verifiable and lead to very high-confidence results. To date, this process has lead to the verification of 19 prospective anti-Alzheimer’s drugs.
Neurox’s process is a vast improvement over contemporary methods of screening that use cell lines in that such processes lead to unreliable results. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, “There have been concerns about another investigational Alzheimer’s compound in late-stage development, bapineuzamab. The monoclonal antibody being developed by a partnerhship of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Elan has been linked to worrisome brain swelling.”
Such screening is especially timely given concerns Eli Lilly’s compound, semagacestat, which is feared to have a long-term negative effect on patients’ cognitive abilities.
Neurox is focusing its initial screening targets on Alzheimer’s Disease which afflicts 35 million people worldwide at an annual expense in excess of $145 billion. Other potential targets that could benefit from Neurox’s screening processes included Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, and acquired brain injuries.