Project

CalciQuant

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Keywords

Precise Braininsights to Shape CNS Drug Development

Stage 1

Project Website

Over 165 million Europeans are affected by Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementias, Epilepsy, Mental Disorders, and Parkinson’s Disease. Approximately 1 in 3 individuals will experience a neurological or mental disorder during their lifetime, making CNS disorders the leading cause of ill health and disability globally. The economic burden of major CNS diseases amounts to around $800 billion annually in the US alone. Despite this significant burden, effective treatments remain scarce.

Jeremy Krohn
Jeremy Krohn
(Charité, DZNE)
Camin Dean
Camin Dean
(Charité, DZNE)

Developing and bringing innovative treatments for CNS disorders to market remains a formidable challenge. Despite notable progress in understanding their complex biology and identifying new drug targets, setbacks have been prevalent and costly. The failure rate for new drugs targeting CNS diseases is high compared to other areas of drug discovery, leading to the discontinuation or downsizing of numerous pharmaceutical CNS programs.

However, with promising late-stage candidates emerging, there’s optimism for the future of CNS innovation. Team CalciQuant is focusing on a digital solution to spot potential setbacks early on, by providing a digital analysis pipeline based on a set of standardized measures of human brain cell function that can provide key insights regarding the potential success of compounds – before costly human clinical trials even begin. For pharmaceutical and biotech companies working in CNS drug development, such indicators result in a vast reduction in time and cost invested in clinical trials.
How does it work? CalciciQuant’s digital analysis platform is able to reliably predict toxicity, validate targets, as well as identifying off-target effects on synapses and neurons and other cell types, all using calcium imaging.

CalciQuant uses state-of-the-art stem cell-derived cultures of human brain cells, a modular digital pipeline for analysis, and a highly standardized approach to measure function from calcium data. It is fully-automated and highly sensitive, enabling it to capture changes in multiple functional parameters. Team CalciQuant is a mixed project from Charité and DZNE and consists of 3 PhD candidates in Neuroscience and their head of the Synaptic Dysfunction Group. Together, the team has more than 20 years of experience in neuroscience, and research specializing in functional assays and digital image analysis.

CalciQuant envisions a world where patients with CNS have pharmaceutical therapy options that are effective, well-tolerated, and numerous in number.