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Domain Therapeutics granted EUR 933,000 for schizophrenia work
STRASBOURG, France—Biopharmaceutical company Domain Therapeutics, which focuses on discovering and developing small molecules that target G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), has announced that the French government has selected Domain Therapeutics' ATHOS project to receive government funding. The project's goal is to develop new drug candidates and identify therapeutic targets for the treatment of schizophrenia.
The ATHOS project will receive a total of EUR 5.1 million over the course of three years. Roughly 45 percent of the ATHOS budget will be provided by central and regional government organizations, including the grant of EUR 933,000 to Domain Therapeutics.
"Domain Therapeutics' know-how in the field of GPCRs combined with our proprietary technology, DTect-All, and the excellence of our two partners will enable us to bring a solution to this challenge of identifying candidate drugs targeting orphan GPCRs linked to schizophrenia," Pascal Neuville, CEO of Domain Therapeutics, said in a press release. "The ATHOS project allows us to extend our franchise in neuropsychiatric disorders and in challenging and innovative therapeutic targets."
The project will be centered on orphan GPCRs. Currently, GPCRs represent the targets for 40 percent of drugs that are on the market, making them the largest class of therapeutic targets. Orphan GPCRs have gotten less attention, however, due to the lack of an identified endogenous ligand. This corner of the market represents a great deal of potential for discovery and therapeutics, as roughly 150 orphan GPCRs have been described so far.
The ATHOS consortium, which is led by Domain Therapeutics, also includes Prestwick Chemical and the Brigitte Kieffer laboratory at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology. The Brigitte Kieffer laboratory will be in charge of mapping orphan GPCRs in the brain as well as obtaining animal models in order to validate targets for neuropsychiatric disorders. For its part, Prestwick Chemical will leverage its experience in optimizing active compounds.
Schizophrenia currently affects an estimated 24 million people worldwide, and according to the World Health Organization, more than 50 percent of those suffering from schizophrenia are not receiving appropriate care. The disease, which affects the central nervous system, generally begins in adolescence. It involves a dissociation of the patient's personality, and auditory hallucinations, paranoid delirium and attention disorders are common. In addition, the life expectancy of those with schizophrenia is on average 12 years shorter than that of those without the disease. WHO notes that "though the incidence is low (3-10,000), the prevalence is high due to chronicity." While there are treatments available, there is no cure for the disease.
The funding that the project will receive comes from the French government fund Fonds Unique Interministériel, the Alsace Region and OSEO.
Domain Therapeutics press release