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PsychoGenics and Roche Agreement Advances Neuropsychiatric Treatments


2 December 2023

PsychoGenics has announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Roche for the development and commercialization of RO7117997, a potential treatment for various psychiatric and neurological conditions. This ENT1 inhibitor initially targets sleep and seizure disorders, marking a significant step in advancing neuropsychiatric treatment options.

RO7117997, a novel Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter 1 (ENT1) inhibitor, was identified through a collaboration that utilized PsychoGenics' innovative AI-driven phenotypic screening platforms. This drug represents a new approach to treating a wide array of neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and neurodegenerative diseases. Showing promise in preclinical studies, it is slated for clinical trials in 2024.

Emer Leahy, PhD, President and CEO of PsychoGenics, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of this drug, noting: 

"RO7117997 was originally identified through our partnership with Roche, employing our SmartCube® platform, and subsequent research at Roche revealed it to act as an ENT1 inhibitor. Inhibition of ENT1 represents a novel approach for addressing a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. This license agreement perfectly aligns with our strategic objective of developing improved treatments for severely disabling CNS conditions."

ENT1 inhibitors operate by blocking the ENT1 transporter's activity, thereby increasing the extracellular concentration of adenosine. This increase can lead to improved sleep quality and reduced frequency and severity of seizures through the activation of adenosine receptors. Beyond these applications, ENT1 inhibitors hold potential for treating other conditions like schizophrenia, addiction, neurodegenerative disorders, and even pain and inflammation.

“We are excited to expand our pipeline and are optimistic about the potential of ENT1 inhibitors in addressing a diverse array of disorders, as indicated by pre-clinical data,” said David Bleakman, PhD, President, Drug Discovery, PsychoGenics. “RO7117997 has already demonstrated a compelling safety profile in non-clinical studies, and we are on track to submit an IND application and commence clinical trials in 2024."

The licensing of RO7117997 is a step forward in the quest to provide better, more effective treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders. With its novel mechanism of action and the promise shown in early studies, this drug could herald a new era in the management of CNS conditions, offering hope to millions affected worldwide.

About PsychoGenics

PsychoGenics Inc. and its discovery arm, PGI Drug Discovery LLC (collectively known as PsychoGenics), have pioneered the translation of rodent behavioral and physiological responses into robust, high-throughput, and high-content phenotyping. PsychoGenics’ drug discovery platforms, SmartCube®, NeuroCube®, PhenoCube®, and eCube®, have been used in shared-risk partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies, including Sunovion, Roche, and Karuna, resulting in the discovery of several novel compounds now in clinical trials or advanced preclinical development.


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