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Blue Oak and PsychoGenics partner on drug discovery

Monday, December 4, 2017

Blue Oak Pharmaceuticals and PGI Drug Discovery have entered into a partnership to discover and optimize novel treatments for brain disorders and psychiatric conditions.

Under the terms of the agreement, PsychoGenics is providing access to its powerful phenotypic discovery platforms, including its SmartCube system and machine learning expertise, for unbiased discovery of novel therapeutics for brain disorders identified from the Blue Oak library of privileged chemotypes. The PsychoGenics technology platforms combine broad in vivo behavioral expertise with developments in robotics, computer vision, and bioinformatics to evaluate drug candidates for potential utility across the spectrum of CNS disease indications.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to once again work with Drs. Tom Large and Kerry Spear, founders of Blue Oak. We have worked productively together at Sunovion in the past and have every confidence we can again discover first-in-class drugs and ultimately deliver much needed treatments to patients with severely disabling psychiatric conditions” remarked Emer Leahy, Ph.D., PsychoGenics’ President & Chief Executive Officer.

“We have a strong, 10-year relationship with Dr. Emer Leahy and PsychoGenics that has validated our systems neurobiology paradigm for discovering clinical molecules with mechanisms-of-action distinct from existing drugs. We are confident that combining PGI’s deep behavioral profiling with Blue Oak’s privileged chemotypes and brain imaging biomarkers will yield the new therapies that have eluded the industry for several decades” said Tom Large, Ph.D., Blue Oak’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

By eliminating human bias and applying machine learning to high dimensional behavioral data, PsychoGenics together with its partners, have been instrumental in phenotypically identifying treatments with novel mechanisms-of-action. This includes an investigational psychotropic agent that is being studied in phase II clinical trials as a treatment for patients with schizophrenia and for Parkinson’s disease psychosis.

Blue Oak was founded on the concept that the next generation of drugs for brain disorders will be discovered by modulating brain circuitry, the most relevant “target” for many CNS diseases. Blue Oak’s proprietary chemistry platform is designed to engage brain circuits through polypharmacology rather than individual molecular targets, which is a key feature of most approved drugs for brain disorders. Integration with brain imaging and translational medicine biomarkers allows for the rapid optimization of clinical leads and Phase 1 clinical proof-of-principle studies.

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