Certerra Inc. is a biotechnology company that uses a proprietary PharmacomapTM method of screening neural activation across the entire brain for drug discovery in neuroscience. Certerra’s goal is to radically improve predictability from preclinical studies to human outcomes in clinical trials. Our PharmacomapTM method is applicable for screening of novel compounds being developed for a broad spectrum of brain disorders, including neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative ones, as well as repurposing of existing drugs . Our central hypothesis is that the effects a drug has on the brain are largely determined by which neurons it activates. This hypothesis is based on the core tenet of neuroscience, which is that sensation, perception, intention, action, and all other mental processes are driven by the activity of neurons and the networks they form. Thus, we assert that clinical trial unpredictability with regard to brain disorders is in large part due to the lack of methods for determining which neurons are activated by a given drug across the entire brain. At Certerra, we have bridged this gap by developing an automated, high-throughput PharmacomapTM method that allows us to visualize and then quantify drug-evoked effects in the mammalian (mouse or rat) brain at single-neuron resolution. **Selected Publications** - Renier, N., Adams, E.L., Kirst, C., Wu, Z., Azevedo, R., Kohl, J., Autry, A.E., Kadiri, L., Umadevi Venkataraju, K., Zhou, Y., Osten, P. and Tessier-Lavigne, M. (2016). Mapping of Brain Activity by Automated Volume Analysis of Immediate Early Genes. *Cell* 165, 1789-1802.
Certerra’s Pharmacomap method is based on a proprietary drug-screening technology. An important part of this technology is a high-throughput microscopy, called serial two-photon (STP) tomography, which achieves automated, cellular-resolution imaging of whole mouse brains (Ragan et al., 2012, Nature Methods 9, 255–258). When used to map drug-evoked induction of immediate early genes (IEGs), such as c-fos, STP tomography generates unbiased brainwide maps of drug-evoked neural activation, which we call “pharmacomaps”.
Because the effects of a drug on the brain are largely determined by which neurons the drug activates, these pharmacomaps provide an unprecedented wealth of high-content, cellular-level information. The main advantages of the Pharmacomap drug-screening services are:
In summary, Certerra’s Pharmacomap drug-screening method is the first complete, automated and highly standardized solution to mapping and statistically comparing in vivo drug-evoked effects in the mammalian brain at cellular resolution.
Certerra's Pharmacomap method is applicable for screening of novel compounds being developed for a broad spectrum of brain disorders, including neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative ones, as well as repurposing of existing drugs. We offer the following services: Mapping of drug-evoked neuronal activation at cellular level in the whole mouse or rat brain. Quantitative and predictive comparisons of brain activation of new drug candidates to drugs currently used in the clinics.
Quantitative analyses of amyloid and other pathological markers in brains of mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
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