Broad Institute

US-based Tetra Discovery Partners entered into a drug development collaboration with the Broad Institute’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The deal is focused on testing the potential of Tetra’s drug candidates for improving cognition in the Stanley Center’s proprietary genetic models relating to schizophrenia.

The main aim of the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is to identify the genetic and molecular underpinnings of psychiatric diseases and contribute to improved treatments and diagnostic methods.

The Stanley Center team uses the largest collection of DNA samples from patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to scan the complete genome for gene variants that predispose to these illnesses.

The team will use the knowledge of human gene variants to create the next generation of genetic models of schizophrenia.

Stanley Center chief scientific officer Edward Scolnick said working with companies such as Tetra enables a better understanding of the potential of compounds for treating memory impairment in schizophrenia.

"There is a need to evaluate new drugs with new mechanisms of action in serious psychiatric diseases."

"There is a need to evaluate new drugs with new mechanisms of action in serious psychiatric diseases," Scolnick said.

The Stanley Center’s aim is to decrease the burden of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia through research aimed at understanding the genetic and molecular basis of such diseases, discovering and testing biomarkers, and accelerating the translation of new medicines to the clinic.

Tetra founder and chief executive officer Mark Gurney said the deal with the Broad Institute’s Stanley Center has brought together significant resources and people to discover the next generation of drugs to treat major psychiatric diseases.

"There is a need to better predict the potential efficacy of drugs with new mechanisms of action in translational models, and to better select patients for clinical trials," Gurney said.

New drugs discovered under the deal will be advanced into human clinical trials as early as 2015.

Image: The Eli and Edythe L Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was launched in 2004. Photo: courtesy of Madcoverboy.