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GEN News Highlights : Jul 14, 2010

Aestus and Eisai Ally to Develop Treatments for Psychiatric Disorders

Aestus’ preclinical candidates will be evaluated.

Aestus Therapeutics and Eisai have agreed to work together on the R&D of therapeutics for psychiatric disorders. The multiyear collaboration will entail preclinical validation of Aestus’ compounds leading to clinical proof-of-concept studies.

Aestus’ candidates were identified through its proprietary analysis of gene-expression datasets, coupled with biological pathway mining on data from relevant disease models. Along with Eisai, the firm will work toward picking lead candidates for further development.

Aestus reports that it has several products for neuropathic pain that are ready to enter Phase II studies. On June 28, Aestus licensed Astellas Pharma’s FK614, a PPAR-gamma agonist, to develop the product for postherpetic neuralgia. The first clinical trial is expected to start later this year. On June 9, the company was awarded a $2 million SBIR grant from the NIH to advance its pain candidates.

Beyond neuropathic pain, the Aestus technology is currently being applied to ALS and schizophrenia. On March 17, the ALS Therapy Development Institute and Aestus reported plans to test potential small molecule compounds to slow or stop the progression of ALS.