“The brain is a world consisting of numerous unexplored continents and great expanses of unknown territory.” – Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)

Disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS) – such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders – affect millions of people. These disorders can be devastating for the sufferers, as well as their families and caregivers. Unfortunately, there are often no treatment options to address the symptoms of these disorders. Despite billions of dollars of efforts by the pharmaceutical industry and government-funded research, there are relatively few viable drug development candidates for these CNS disorders. This is owed largely to the extreme difficulties in understanding even the most basic principles of how the brain processes and stores information across its complex and vast networks. It is widely agreed that what is critically needed is a road map to the brain’s information processing system.

Afraxis Inc. develops technologies to facilitate the discovery and development of novel CNS therapeutics. At its core is the Afraxis Enhanced Spine Platform (ESP) technology, which reads and interprets the fundamental building block of biological neural networks – the synapse. Afraxis ESP is the first of its kind, a high-content drug discovery tool to measure the conformations of vast numbers of individual dendritic spines, the synapse’s structural vessel. These conformations describe information processing “fingerprints”, network growth and retraction in response to disease or therapeutics, and much more.

Armed with Afraxis ESP, CNS drug development is beginning to shape up… Read more