An experimental drug under development by Tetra Discovery Partners LLC has the potential to treat traumatic brain injury, according to the results of a pre-clinical trial.
In testing on rats, researchers at the University of Miami’s Traumatic Brain Injury Institute found that the Grand Rapids-based Tetra’s compound, known as PDE4, reduced chronic cognitive deficits after traumatic brain injury.
The results “suggest that PDE4B inhibition has the potential to improve learning and memory ability and overall functioning for people living with TBI (traumatic brain injury),” according to a statement today from the University of Miami and Tetra Discovery Partners.
“We are very encouraged by these preclinical studies showing the potential of selective inhibition of PDE4B as a strategy for restoring cognitive function during recovery from TBI,” Tetra Discovery Partners CEO Mark Gurney said.
Results of the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, were published in the July edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.
As part of the study, researchers induced traumatic brain injury in rats. At three months, the researchers treated rats the animals with a PDE4B inhibitor and tested their behavior with learning and memory tasks. The study shows that treatment with PDE4B “significantly reversed the TBI-induced deficits in the memory.”
“Treating TBI survivors during the months to years after brain trauma is a very promising area of research and several clinical trials are already tackling this problem, by using drugs repurposed from other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” W. Dalton Dietrich, scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, said in the statement. “This selective PDE4B inhibitor from Tetra Discovery Partners has great promise, restoring the learning and memory performance of TBI animals to nearly non-injured levels.
“We expect that this collaboration with Tetra will yield a new clinical trial using this therapeutic strategy in human TBI survivors.”
Founded in 2011, Tetra Discovery operates out of the business incubators GR Current in Grand Rapids and the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center in Kalamazoo. The company is funded by grants and contracts with the National Institutes of Health, plus private capital from investors that include Grand Angels, Muskegon Angels, Invest Michigan 2.0, the Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center in Kalamazoo, and the Johnson & Johnson Development Corp.