Money will be leveraged by the company-led Rhenepi consortium, which is focused on epilepsy.

Rhenovia Pharma won a €2.5 million (about $3.4 million) contract to advance its Rhenepi project on antiepileptic drug development. The goal is to develop and validate an epilepsy biosimulation platform that can be used for the discovery of new therapies and the optimization of existing medications.

The Rhenepi consortium is led by Rhenovia and includes SynapCell, a French CRO, as well as two academic laboratories. SynapCell specializes in testing of antiepileptic drugs in in vivo animal models. The two laboratories involved are the Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle and the Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences.

The contract covers a three-year period. It was awarded by a number of bodies including the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, Alsace BioValley, and Lyon Biopôle. Rhenovia and SynapCell will provide the balance of the required funds.

The collaborators will work to construct a platform that simulates erratic neuronal transmission leading to epileptic seizures. It will test basic molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with epilepsy and aims to rationalize the clinical practice of drug combination therapy in this field.

“Rhenepi gives a significant boost to Rhenovia’s finances, allowing us to hire six more researchers, and grow the company,” says Serge Bischoff, CEO of Rhenovia Pharma. “What is more, it implies the expansion of our already operational platform, Rhenoms monosynapse, to a multiple synapse and integrated neuron platform.

“This will allow us to extend Rhenovia’s service offering to almost all diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system as well as to identify the safety and toxicity risks of any kind of pharmaceutical treatment associated with a disruption of excitation/inhibition homeostasis.”

 Rhenovia believes that it has developed the first platform to simulate mechanisms involved in learning and memory and in a variety of brain functions related to the balance between excitation and inhibition.

It is making this platform available in its Rheddos program, aimed at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies wishing to extend drug life cycle, develop new drug combinations, and identify new targets for therapeutic molecules.

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