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CTSN hosts Drug Discovery in Autism Roundtable

November 23, 2010 The CTSN hosted a Roundtable discussion about the potential for drug development in autism and schizophrenia and about the importance of collaborations between pharmaceutical industry and academia.

Participating in the Roundtable were members of Pfizer Inc’s Autism Research Team including Robert Ring, PhD Senior Director and Head of the Pfizer Global R & D Autism Research Unit.  Dr Ring provided an overview of Pfizer’s commitment to development of therapeutics for autism spectrum disorders and emphasized Pfizer’s goal of supporting industry/academia collaborations as a means of accelerating the identification and development of novel drug targets in this area.

Presentations by Emory investigators then highlighted the breadth and diversity of research related to the biology of prosocial behavior and research in autism and schizophrenia.  Topics ranged from the potential therapeutic targeting of dysregulated second messenger systems in autism, to animal models with potential for screening of novel therapeutics (mice, voles, monkeys, chimps) and ongoing human studies in autism and schizophrenia.

The Roundtable concluded with an open discussion of potential areas for development of industry/academia collaborations.   Dr. Young hopes that these initial discussions will lead to productive collaborations between the CTSN and Pfizer.  Collaborations with pharmaceutical industry are essential for translating basic and clinical science discoveries into novel therapeutics.