Research on genetic involvement in central nervous system diseases has focused either on familial predisposition studies or on experiments using postmortem tissue samples, leaving researchers in the dark about disease development processes. AGY Therapeutics Inc. has tried to solve this problem by elucidating protein pathways in animal models of CNS disease. The company combines gene expression profiles from tissue samples from animals at various times during disease progression with bioinformatics algorithms to identify protein targets for intervention.

"In humans, you cannot get samples of CNS tissue over time," said Philip Young, president and COO. "Historically, therefore, genetic analyses of CNS diseases have been done through predisposition studies or based on samples taken at autopsy. But the tissues are degraded by that point. We concentrate on the area between these to find genes for diagnosis and treatment."