The project, financed by a grant of $1.2 million (€900 000) from France’s National Research Agency (ANR), will focus on the development of CNS drug discovery research tools.
The GluSense project involves sensors that enable real-time detection of responses from glutamate receptors — part of a family of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets that are related to central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and depression. The technology was developed and patented by Cisbio Bioassays in collaboration with Dr. Jean-Philippe Pin, director of IGF’s molecular pharmacology department, and his team, using Cisbio Bioassays’ Tag-lite® platform. The ANR funds will be used to apply the technology to all receptors in this GPCR family, and create tools for identifying and characterizing drug candidates that act on them.
“The GluSense technology allows researchers to better understand the mechanism of action of molecules that act on this receptor class, as well as avoid difficulties when implementing tests used to identify these receptors’ allosteric regulators,” said Dr. Pin. “Tag-lite has demonstrated that its multiple applications add tremendous scientific value to the research and characterization of GPCR interactions on the cell surface—already it has enabled us to validate new paradigms as illustrated by our results published in leading scientific journals.”
In addition to the GluSense project, Cisbio Bioassays and IGF have created a joint laboratory at IGF to investigate technologies that facilitate the study of interactions between biomolecules on the surface of living cells. These technologies will be applied to research projects focused on GPCRs and, following a technology transfer from the laboratory to Cisbio Bioassays, developed into products for use by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
“Cisbio Bioassays has been collaborating with IGF on GPCR research for over a decade. In 2006, the ANR’s support enabled us to apply our proprietary technologies towards the development of new tools for GPCR dimerization on the surface of living cells,” explains Dr. Gerard Mathis, vice president research & development at Cisbio Bioassays. “This long-standing collaboration with top-notch researchers has increased our know-how in receptor investigation and positioned the company as the recognized expert in this domain. It is also testimony to successful industrial and academic endeavors that bring competitive advantages to both partners which, in turn, position them as leaders in their respective fields.”