Schizophrenia, PTSD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases Focus of Research Collaboration


NeurOp, Inc. has formed a research collaboration with Emory University to study modulation of certain brain cell receptors and its possible impact on several serious cognitive and mental health disorders – schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. NeurOp, a biopharmaceutical company, is working with Emory to accelerate NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor research into potential new treatments for these areas of medical need.

“This three-year collaboration is based on our joint belief that NeurOp and Emory working together can speed the development of new medicines for certain central nervous system illnesses,” commented Dr. Robert Zaczek, chief scientific officer at NeurOp. “At the end of the period, our goal is to have compounds in late-stage optimization with one or more moving toward Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling testing.”

The collaboration combines the expertise of NeurOp scientists with Emory University’s NMDA receptor researchers, including its pharmacology team, led by Dr. Stephen Traynelis, and medicinal chemistry team of Dr. Dennis Liotta. These three groups of researchers aim to progress select molecules through late-stage lead optimization. Lead optimization is the complex process of refining the chemical structure of a biologically active compound to improve its drug characteristics, with the goal of producing a pre-clinical drug candidate.

Dennis Liotta, Ph.D., is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry at Emory University where he has been a faculty member for more than 25 years. He is a renowned organic and medicinal chemist and the author of approximately 200 publications and patents. Dr. Liotta’s research has focused on the discovery and development of novel antiviral and anticancer agents. Stephen Traynelis, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine, where he has been a faculty member since 1994 and author of more than 300 papers, abstracts and patents. He is an expert on NMDA receptor activation and modulation.

“Steve and Dennis are global leaders in their respective fields. Coupled with NeurOp’s drug development team, we are positioned to quickly move the program forward,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and chief executive officer. “By combining our efforts and knowledge, we’ll gain a better understanding of how these compounds interact with various subunits of the NMDA receptor, which may yield exciting new treatments for a number of mental illnesses and nervous system disorders.”

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. A research collaboration and licensing agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) currently funds and supports development of NeurOp’s compounds for the treatment of depression and neuropathic pain. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports its ischemia and schizophrenia research. For more information, please visit