Meyer Hospital Florence and Neurolentech GmbH announce clinical collaboration to produce cellular models for genetic epileptic encephalopathies
Florence – Italy; Klosterneuburg – Austria, August 8, 2022 –
Meyer Hospital Florence (https://www.meyer.it/) and Neurolentech GmbH (https://neurolentech.com) today announced a new collaboration to generate patient-specific cellular models for genetic epileptic encephalopathies. Their aim is to investigate disease mechanisms at the cellular, functional and molecular level with the goal to develop tools and generate data to foster therapeutic drug development.
Genetic epileptic encephalopathies are hundreds of disorders, each affecting the expression and function of a gene that influences the development, connections and performances of neuronal circuits. Currently, there are no adequate targeted drug treatments for genetic epilepsies. Research into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of genetic epilepsies is therefore needed to develop therapies in order to help patients and their families.
The Center of Excellence for Neurosciences of the Children’s Hospital Meyer, Florence, is internationally renowned for its expertise in epilepsy with its EEG, MRI, neuropsychological, genetic aspects and functional characterization of identified mutations using neurobiological approaches. The main area of expertise of Prof. Guerrini’s team is the medical care of patients with rare and complex epilepsies, the presurgical assessment and surgical treatment of children with drug resistant epilepsy, and the identification of new causative genes for developmental and epileptic encephalopathies and new genotype/phenotype correlations for these conditions.
Neurolentech is specializing in rapid and cost-efficient generation and characterization of patient-specific cellular disease models for neurodevelopmental disorders, bridging the gap between clinical research and drug development. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement Neurolentech will receive primary epilepsy-patient cells in order to develop patient-specific neuronal cultures and characterize them using omics-approaches as well as functional assays with the goal of identifying biomarkers, biochemical pathways and targets that will facilitate pre-clinical drug discovery for genetic epilepsies.
“We are thrilled to enter this collaboration with Prof. Guerrini at the Center of Excellence in Neurosciences of the Meyer Hospital Florence. Genetic epilepsies are a disease area of high unmet medical need. The excellence in clinical and genetic diagnostics of Prof. Guerrini´s team together with our high-quality detailed characterization of patient-specific disease models forms the foundation for understanding disease pathology and takes the first hurdle towards targeted drug development. Our mutual long-term commitment will put the individual patient at the nexus of research while speeding up commercial drug development benefiting patients and their families,” said Dr. Pfeffer, co-founder and CEO of Neurolentech. Dr. Novarino, co-founder and professor of neuroscience at IST Austria added, “Genetic epilepsies are devastating diseases with a huge burden on patients, families and society. Basic research using patient-specific models will push the boundaries of precision medicine for epileptic patients. We are enthusiastic to collaborate with such innovative, engaged and interconnected clinical partners in order to advance the best research for genetic epilepsies.”
Prof. Guerrini, Full Professor of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Center of Excellence for Neurosciences of the Children’s Hospital Meyer said, “This is a highly needed step forward for research in the epileptic encephalopathies. Through this collaboration with Neurolentech GmbH it will be possible to carry on morphological, electrophysiological and pharmacological studies directly on neural cells derived from the patients and move forward with the most appropriate experiments towards precision medicine”.
ABOUT MEYER Children’s Hospital
Meyer Children’s Hospital is a 250-bed public hospital that is part of the Italian National Health System and is integrated with the University of Florence, with which it carries out healthcare, teaching, and research activities. Meyer is a highly specialized children’s hospital and is a national reference center for complex diseases, with all pediatric medicine and surgery services available. The hospital aims for excellence in all of its activities, mixing modern technology, research and new therapies with a holistic approach toward the care of young patients and their families. The hospital is currently undergoing a rapid phase of expansion, including a new training center including an advanced simulation center (SimMeyer), a family center, and an outpatient center. The strategic planning for a new research center is underway. Meyer is a member of the Italian Association of Children’s Hospitals (AOPI) and the European Children’s Hospitals Organisation (ECHO).
For more information, visit the www.meyer.it website.
ABOUT NEUROLENTECH GmbH
Neurolentech GmbH develops cellular disorder models for drug development and diagnostics focusing on Autism, Epilepsy and Intellectual Disability, neurodevelopmental disorders with a huge unmet medical need and large burden on patients, families and society. Neurolentech’s precision medicine platform approach combines the generation of patient- and disorder-specific models with several molecular and physiological analysis technologies that will allow the directed development and validation of novel drugs and therapeutics. Neurolentech is supported by funds from the Austrian federal promotional bank (AWS, https://www.aws.at/), an investment from IST cube (https://ist-cube.com) as well as grants from TESS foundation (https://www.tessresearch.org/) and Foundation for USP7-related diseases (https://www.usp7.org/). Neurolentech GmbH was founded by Carsten Pfeffer, Gaia Novarino, Christoph Bock, together with IST Austria (ISTA, https://ist.ac.at/).
For more information visit: https://neurolentech.com/
Contact for MEYER HOSPITAL FLORENCE
Valerio Conti, PhD, Neuroscience Department, Children’s Hospital A. Meyer, Head of the Neurobiology Lab.
Renzo Guerrini, MD, FRCP, FAES, Director of the Neuroscience Department, Children’s Hospital A. Meyer.
Contact for NEUROLENTECH GmbH
Carsten Pfeffer, PhD
CEO and co-founder