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GEN News Highlights : Sep 25, 2006

DARPA funding Will Help Lexicon Genetics Identify Sleep Deprivation-Related Targets

Lexicon Genetics was awarded funding from DARPA for the identification of targets that will aid in developing drugs to enhance the restorative benefits derived from sleep and offset problems associated with sleep deprivation.

“Through use of our proprietary drug target discovery platform, we have identified two genes that appear to impact the mechanism of sleep,” says Brian P. Zambrowicz, Ph.D., executive vp of research. “Our work under this grant may have application to the military and the general population.”

Under the award, Lexicon will be investigating the molecular and cellular basis of sleep, sleep pathways, and the correlation between sleep architecture and performance, including under conditions of sleep deprivation. Lexicon will also study specific genes that alter normal sleep/wake cycles when knocked out in mice.

Current military operations increasingly place demands for higher levels of performance without adequate provision for opportunities to rest and sleep. Identifying novel pharmaceutical approaches aimed at preventing the harmful effects of sleep deprivation may enhance the ability of military personnel to function more safely and effectively despite prolonged periods of wakefulness.