The boutique drug discovery services company Cellectricon is developing new types of in-vitro excitability assays based on living brain cells and human neuronal stem cells for testing of drug candidates aimed for treatment of central nervous system diseases and chronic pain.
Based in Mölndal, the company is a leading provider of highly differentiated cell-based discovery services to enable faster drug discovery with reduced costs and failure rates. Identifying effects in highly relevant biological models early in a discovery project’s lifecycle adds real value to the decision of whether to pursue or eliminate a potential new chemical entity.
Cellectricon’s proprietary assay platform, Cellaxess® Elektra, provides highly relevant information from various types of nerve cells, both primary neurons and neurons derived from stem cells on key parameters, such as neuronal excitability and synaptic function.
”We evaluate compounds by registering changes in neural activity, both at the cellular and network level. Thus, we’re able to identify and verify a compound’s potential in the therapeutic areas where we’re active, i.e. diseases of the CNS, such as Alzheimer’s, and chronic pain,” says Charlotta Blom, Research Scientist at Cellectricon.
Reproduces Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)
A neuron’s synaptic function is not static and cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders may be connected to its plasticity. Cellectricon is involved in a collaborative project with a major US-based pharmaceutical company to develop a new assay on synaptic function, based on a network of excitable primary neurons from rodents and human neuronal derived stem cells.
”One of our collaborator’s aims with the newly developed assay is to identify compounds that can be used to treat mood disorders, such as depression. So far, we’ve delivered positive results showing that our assay can detect compound effects on transmission of information between relevant nerve cells,” says Charlotta Blom, who is the project’s leader.
”Several companies are interested and also working with us to further progress the assay platform for these key CNS and pain disease areas. Our current aim is to establish long-term potentiation assay capability. This is a central process in, for example, memory formation and learning. That’s something we’re working on now to further increase the scope and value of our services offering,” she concludes.