PARAMUS, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PsychoGenics Inc., announced the appointment of Mark A. Varney, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). This appointment reflects the Company’s growth in Central Nervous System (CNS) drug discovery and clinical development, and its continued commitment to the development of proprietary technologies to support internal and partnered drug discovery and translational research.
Dr. Varney has over 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery and clinical development in CNS indications; and he will lead the drug discovery and development efforts at PsychoGenics.
“We are very excited that Mark has joined PsychoGenics, which reflects our dedication to drug discovery,” said Emer Leahy, Ph.D., President and CEO. “Mark’s leadership, track record and extensive knowledge of CNS R&D and translational research will help drive our internal and partnered discovery programs forward.”
Dr. Varney most recently served as CEO and member of the Board of Directors at Neurolixis. Before that, he served as President and CEO of Cortex Pharmaceuticals after joining them as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Varney has held senior R&D positions at Sepracor (now Sunovion), Bionomics and Merck.
“I am delighted to join PsychoGenics, an innovative company with a track record of delivering novel compounds such as SEP-363856 now in Phase III for schizophrenia, discovered in partnership with Sunovion using the Company’s phenotypic discovery platform, SmartCube®,” said Dr. Varney. “I am impressed with the approach to drug discovery and the quality of the research at PsychoGenics and eager to employ the company’s novel platforms and extensive capabilities in the pursuit of new treatments for debilitating CNS disorders.”
About SmartCube®–driven Drug Discovery
PsychoGenics’ proprietary, high-throughput SmartCube® platform combines in vivo behavioral testing with developments in computer vision and modern artificial intelligence to phenotypically discover drug candidates for potential utility across the spectrum of CNS disease indications. Using SmartCube® and other capabilities, PsychoGenics collects and analyzes multi-dimensional preclinical data on novel compounds and disease mouse model phenotypes and employs proprietary machine learning algorithms to find new treatments. PsychoGenics has screened and optimized diverse and targeted libraries of compounds delivering hundreds of hits from which numerous neuropsychiatric drug candidates have emerged.
PsychoGenics’ phenotypic drug discovery approach can significantly reduce the time and cost to reaching approved Investigational New Drug status, potentially resulting in the identification of a viable drug candidate from a few hundred analogs tested in lead optimization in just over a year, on average. This compares favorably to most target-driven programs, which typically synthesize thousands of analogs over many years. Due to its target-agnostic nature, the SmartCube® approach has increased the probability of successfully finding drug candidates with novel first-in-class mechanisms of action and improved side effect profiles, suitable for treating the symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders.
PsychoGenics has pioneered the translation of rodent behavioral responses into robust, high‑throughput, and high content phenotyping. Its drug discovery platforms, SmartCube®, NeuroCube®, and PhenoCube® have been used in shared risk partnerships with major pharma companies such as Sunovion and Roche and has resulted in the discovery of several novel compounds now in clinical trials or advanced preclinical development. PsychoGenics’ capabilities also include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, microdialysis and quantitative immunohistochemistry. In addition, the company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), muscular dystrophy, ALS, and other disorders. For more information on PsychoGenics Inc. visit www.psychogenics.com.