GluSense project aims to develop tools to facilitate target discovery.

Cisbio Bioassays and the Functional Genomics Institute (IGF) of Montpellier, France, have launched the GluSense R&D program. The project, financed by a grant of $1.2 million (€900,000) from France’s National Research Agency (ANR), will focus on the development of drug-discovery research tools for CNS diseases.

The GluSense project involves sensors that enable real-time detection of responses from glutamate receptors, part of a family of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets that are related to CNS disorders such as Parkinson disease and depression. The ANR funds will be used to apply the technology to all receptors in this GPCR family and create tools for identifying and characterizing drug candidates that act on them.

The technology was developed and patented by Cisbio Bioassays in collaboration with Jean-Philippe Pin, Ph.D., director of IGF’s molecular pharmacology department, and his team. It uses Cisbio Bioassays’ Tag-lite® platform.

“The GluSense technology allows researchers to better understand the mechanism of action of molecules that act on this receptor class as well as avoid difficulties when implementing tests used to identify these receptors’ allosteric regulators,” Dr. Pin remarks. “Tag-lite has demonstrated that its multiple applications add tremendous scientific value to the research and characterization of GPCR interactions on the cell surface.”

Gerard Mathis, Ph.D., vp R&D at Cisbio Bioassays, adds, “Cisbio Bioassays has been collaborating with IGF on GPCR research for over a decade. In 2006, the ANR’s support enabled us to apply our proprietary technologies towards the development of new tools for GPCR dimerization on the surface of living cells.”

In addition to the GluSense project, Cisbio Bioassays and IGF have created a joint laboratory at IGF to investigate technologies that facilitate the study of interactions between biomolecules on the surface of living cells. These technologies will be applied to research projects focused on GPCRs and, following a technology transfer from the laboratory to Cisbio Bioassays, developed into products for use by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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