Rhenovia creates simulation of epilepsy biology

The analogy between the brain and a computer is well established, with Alan Turing perhaps the first to make the connection back in 1944. And while the complexity of the central nervous system still far exceeds our own creations, some biotechs are reinforcing the analogy through the development of biosimulations.

Rhenovia Pharma is among the companies working in the field, and this week it presented a computer simulator for the biological mechanisms of epilepsy. The software is the result of a three-year effort by Rhenovia and its collaborators to develop a computer model for epilepsy that is validated by laboratory experiments. Having created the software, Rhenovia is looking to market it to biopharma companies. The platform could help identify new therapeutic candidates--or reposition existing molecules--and assess their toxicology and safety profiles.

With drug-discovery departments under pressure to up their hit rates while controlling spending, in silico approaches are garnering attention. "We can quickly verify some of our working hypotheses where biosimulation is validated by experiments in animal models of epilepsy recognized by the medical community. More importantly, we can formulate new hypotheses," Dr. Antoine Depaulis, a director at INSERM, France's national institute of health and medical research, said.

The simulator is designed to mirror the biological mechanisms that underpin signal transmission between brain cells in people with epilepsy. Using the model, Rhenovia thinks it can identify which molecules, in isolation or combination, merit further investigation in laboratory tests and ultimately clinical trials.

- here's the press release (PDF)