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Company Background

The brain is biology's ultimate frontier.

Neuroscience - the study of the structure, functions, capacities and diseases of the brain - offers the greatest challenge in biology, the leading growth area for biomedical research, and the focus of hope for understanding and treatment of brain-based behaviors and pathologies, from deficits in memory and learning to diseases like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

Recent advances in neuroscience, from the non-invasive imaging of the human brain to the molecular directions for development of embryonic brains of experimental animals, offer new theatres for observation and exploration of brain development, mature function, and aging. The detection of genetic links to a range of brain disorders allows creation of animal models of genetic diseases and vulnerabilities. The progress of the Human Genome Project and the recent announcement of the "Brain Molecular Anatomy Project" (BMAP) by the National Institute of Mental Health promise a complete inventory of mammalian genes; and combined with powerful new genomics tools offer the opportunity to determine which genes from that inventory are active in the brain - where scientists believe as many as half of all genes find their only expression.

The exploration and functional characterization of the genes of the brain, the necessary next step in the adventure of genomics, will require identification and evaluation of the place such genes take in the intricate circuitry of the brain, the "conversations" among sets of interconnected nerve cells (called neurons) that control brain function.

Most of the tools for neurochemistry, neuroimaging, and neuronal gene discovery are advancing rapidly, and computer science (especially the growing discipline of "bioinformatics") offers remarkably sophisticated tools for integration and interpretation of the biological data. However, the essential disciplines of neuroanatomy and neuropathology have remained more or less unchanged over the past century! The absence of a standardized regime for collection and organization of brain experimental data and the highly subjective nature of original data derived from observation, measurement and commentary by the individual researcher behind the microscope make accurate comparisons problematic, and comprehensive analyses of gene expression in the context of space and time approximate rather than precise.

Neurome was formed in 2000 by a team of leading brain researchers to provide high-throughput, rigorous and standardized methodologies for the research and analysis of gene expression patterns within the structure, circuits and cells of the brain. Neurome’s efforts are directed toward the discovery and development of gene targets for the enhancement of brain function and treatment of brain-based diseases.

The market opportunity for Neurome includes diagnostics and therapeutics, agents of prevention, and creative strategies for the maintenance, rehabilitation, and enhancement of brain function.

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