Roche is exploiting U.K.-based Psynova Neurotech’s expertise for the development of immunoassay-based companion diagnostics for its schizophrenia candidates. Roche has contracted Psynova to identify candidate serum protein biomarkers that could be used either to help predict disease progression or predict/monitor the efficacy and safety of a compound from its pipeline.
Psynova will use its schizophrenia biomarker panels, a CNS disease database, and Rules-Based Medicine’s DiscoveryMAP™ technology; Rules-Based Medicine recently became a majority shareholder in Psynova. The aim is to identify a specific biomarker signature with potential utility as a companion diagnostic.
Any resulting companion diagnostic will be developed either by Psynova and RBM as Roche’s preferred partners or independently by Roche. The latter option would trigger milestone and royalty payments to Psynova.
In October Psynova and RBM announced the discovery and characterization of a combination of protein biomarkers that they claim show potential utility as an adjunctive aid in the differential diagnosis of schizophrenia. As a result of the clinical achievement, RBM made additional investments in Psynova, which gave it a controlling interest in the company.
Psynova is exclusively focused on biomarkers for neuropsychiatric and other mental illnesses. Working closely with the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research (CCNR) at the Institute of Biotechnology, Psynova is using the CCNR Biobank of clinical samples and the PsyData database to identify novel biomarkers for schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. PsyData is a relational database generated by CCNR using a suite of technologies to analyze genes, proteins, and metabolites in tissue samples from the BioBank.
Operating as the commercialization arm for the CCNR, Psynova is looking to validate promising biomarkers through clinical studies and aims to develop diagnostic and prognostic tests that can be used both in a clinical setting and also by pharmaceutical companies for drug discovery and development. The company says it also intends to look for opportunities to reprofile drugs for neuropsychiatric disorders and initiate its own drug discovery programs using biomarkers.