Sven Wichert, CEO
Attempts to discover new drugs for genetically complex brain disorders have proven extremely difficult. Although there is an increasing need for new treatment options, several drug companies have temporarily ceased neuroscience research programs. A major reason for that is the insufficient knowledge of the underlying biological mechanisms. This represents a critical challenge impacting the drug discovery process. This challenge is driving the need for innovative High-Throughput Screening (HTS) methods that can elucidate the complex cellular communication in human disease models in the early stages of drug discovery.
Munich-based Systasy Bioscience addresses this demand and provides integrated solutions to research-driven pharmaceutical organizations for the analysis of cell signaling networks in patient-derived disease models. “Systasy aims to deliver unmatched mode-of-action insight through highly multiplexed phenogenomic pathway profiling technologies for target selection, lead discovery, and safety profiling,” says Sven Wichert, CEO of Systasy.
Founded in 2012 as a spinoff from Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttigen, Germany, Systasy comprises a team of neuroscientists, molecular biologists, and bioinformatics scientists. Their employees share a common vision that the recent scientific insights in the genetics of brain diseases need to be complemented with a systems-level pharmacological strategy in drug discovery to optimize and boost the development of medication to treat the symptoms of psychiatric and neurodegenerative illnesses.
With that goal in mind, Wichert and his team have developed an innovative roadmap to target selection and lead discovery, which involves the usage of parallel phenogenomic profiling technologies in patient-derived disease models.
The company’s flagship technology, EXTassay, provides simultaneous analysis of multiple cellular and signalling events by utilizing molecularly barcoded reporters.
“The unmatched depth offered by the EXTassay technology allows clients to decode target specificity and cellular effector profiles within one experiment,” explains Wichert. In addition, Systasy’s proprietary splitSENSOR technology monitors and quantitatively measures cellular events such as regulated protein-protein interactions at the membrane and cytosol levels. Combining the strength of these technologies allows to directly examine what´s going wrong in neuronal cells of patients suffering from brain diseases. Through Systasy’s bioinformatics service large data sets are converted into mode-of-action insights that can lead to the identification of novel drug targets.
Systasy’s comprehensive portfolio comprises neuroMODELING, cisPROFILER, pathSCREENER, targetPROFILER, and transcriptPROFILER. The effectiveness of Systasy’s solutions has been proven by several customer projects and can be further illustrated with two of their in-house studies, recently published in renowned scientific reports. The first involves the integration of pathway sensor-based functional genomics technology to identify modulators of cellular activity in neuronal cells and the second highlights the use of Systasy’s splitSENSOR technology in drug repurposing.
The company’s unique value proposition lies in their ability to facilitate tailor-made drug development through human iPSC-based disease modeling. Additionally, their aptitude to provide integrated data on cell signalling through extensive parallel phenogenomic profiling technologies, thereby increasing in-depth mode-of-action knowledge are also distinguished. “We apply our technology in drug development to dissect the complex disease processes and identify next-gen drug combinations for brain disorders,” adds Wichert.
Systasy further plans to expand their portfolio for in-depth mode-of-action profiling and identifying novel targets for first-in-class drug discovery. Further, riskPROFILER—a product in development—will cover the most important targets recommended by four major pharma companies for safety profiling. “Our innovative roadmap is not only suitable for brain disorders but can also be utilized to support the drug discovery for any genetically complex disease,” concludes Wichert.