Medicine has made great strides forward in recent decades by tackling easily diagnosable diseases and conditions that affect large patient groups. This broad-brush approach makes sense in the context of the traditional pharma industry model, but it bypasses the needs of the patients with so-called rare diseases, although they amount to 1 in 17 of the European population. Even if such patients receive an accurate diagnosis (which many do not, due to lack of awareness or reliable diagnostic methods), there are often no effective therapies available to them.
This is where innovators like the founders of Neurolentech come into play. Neurolentech is a spinoff of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, whose area of expertise is in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), particularly autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. While these conditions are not rare as such (affecting at least 1% of the population), they are actually very heterogeneous disorders with diverse causes that are lumped together under a single diagnosis. When the diversity of the patient population is considered, it is not surprising that no effective pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to address the core symptoms of autism, or that there are many patients who do not respond well to existing anti-epileptics.
Neurolentech’s approach is to characterize neuronal cells from individual patients in a highly comprehensive manner, delivering rich omics data, morphology and electrophysiology. By analyzing these data it will become possible to enhance understanding of the disrupted molecular pathways in patient subgroups, leading to identification of novel drug targets, and ultimately to new therapeutics to test in the clinic.
The Neurolentech team has unique sector expertise, allowing them to execute on ambitious plans to address unmet patient needs.