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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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July 18, 2005

BrainCells Taps Leading Neurotech Venture Capital

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Posted by Zack Lynch

By Casey Lynch

Neuropharmaceutical drug discovery company BrainCells Inc of San Diego announced that it has closed a $17.7 million Series A financing from leading neurotech venture funds including Technology Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners and NeuroVentures Capital.

Recent research from scientific founder Fred Gage and others has shown that treatment with antidepressants correlates with the appearance of new neurons in animal models. Many factors, including chronic stress, can lead to neuronal atrophy in an area of the brain called the hippocampus and it has been shown that hippocampal volume is reduced in depressed patients. Contrary to long held dogma, certain areas of the brain, including the hippocampus, can be stimulated to generate new neurons from resident neuronal stem cells and some believe that this neurogenesis may be the mechanism of action of drugs like Prozac.

While there is still some debate as to the causative link between neurogenesis and depression, BrainCells hopes that neurogenesis can be used as a marker to identify new antidepressants and mood disorder treatments. This would be a big step forward considering the current difficulty in preclinical drug discovery for these large market opportunities.

Also of note today, neurodevice company Cyberonics received FDA approval to use it's Vagus Nerve Stimulator on depression resistant patients.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Casey's Insights | VC for Neurotech


COMMENTS

1. ex nihilo nihil on July 18, 2005 5:53 PM writes...

Summary points

Recent meta-analyses show selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have no clinically meaningful advantage over placebo

Claims that antidepressants are more effective in more severe conditions have little evidence to support them

Methodological artefacts may account for the small degree of superiority shown over placebo

Antidepressants have not been convincingly shown to affect the long term outcome of depression or suicide rates

Given doubt about their benefits and concern about their risks, current recommendations for prescribing antidepressants should be

Permalink to Comment

2. zeroin on July 18, 2005 5:57 PM writes...

Summary points

Recent meta-analyses show selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have no clinically meaningful advantage over placebo

Claims that antidepressants are more effective in more severe conditions have little evidence to support them

Methodological artefacts may account for the small degree of superiority shown over placebo

Antidepressants have not been convincingly shown to affect the long term outcome of depression or suicide rates

Given doubt about their benefits and concern about their risks, current recommendations for prescribing antidepressants should be

Permalink to Comment


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