Neurodegenerative Disease Drug Discovery with the Vala Platform

Screening for Neurotoxicity and Efficacy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

neuron transients video

Yielding the Most Precise Insights in Primary and Co-Cultured hiPSC Models

Vala has developed co-culture assays with models of hiPSC-neurons, -microglia, and -astrocytes, for neurodegenerative disease drug discovery and toxicity screening.

To enable these models, Vala differentiates and manufactures microglia in quantities currently sufficient for large-scale screening studies. Vala’s hiPSC-microglia exhibit functions exhibited by endogenous microglia in the brain (e.g., engulfment of particles, and uptake of amyloid-beta oligomers), are readily cocultured with hiPSC-neurons. Vala may be offering the only functional screens of hiPSC-neurons in co-cultures with hiPSC-microglia currently available for high throughput screening.

Assays have been validated and are ready for large-scale high throughput screening.

microglia image

hiPSC-microglia: Essential to Neurodegenerative Disease Drug Development

Microglia are core components of the central nervous system’s innate immune system, and also participate in neurodevelopment. Currently, there are virtually no standardized in vitro assay systems that represent human microglia. While primary human microglia are available in limited supply, they “de-differentiate” away from the microglial phenotype as soon as they are cultured, further reducing their suitability for research use.

Vala’s studies demonstrate nurturing effects from microglia co-cultured with neurons (increased neurites, and modulation of neuronal calcium responses to neurotoxic stimuli) supporting the neuroprotective hypothesis, and strongly suggesting that the mixed model will be more predictive of human outcomes.

Vala’s Progress

Vala’s development starts with hiPSCs, which are differentiated to the microglia-like phenotype (verified by both biomarker expression and demonstration of function). The hiPSC-microglia can be studied in monoculture, or they can be co-cultured with hiPSC-neurons and hiPSC-astrocytes in 96, or 384-well dishes. Thus, hiPSC-neurons, -microglia, and -astrocytes can be co-cultured by Vala in a format that enables efficient, large-scale screening of compounds for both efficacy and neurotoxicity.

Alzheimer’s Disease:
Vala has acquired hiPSC’s with APOE variants for drug discovery screens for neurotoxicity and efficacy using hiPSC-cortical neurons, -microglia and -astrocytes.

Parkinson’s Disease:
Vala has acquired hiPSCs with Parkinson’s mutations for drug discovery screening using hiPSC-cortical neurons, -microglia and -astrocytes.

Working with Vala

Vala’s scientific research team stands ready to collaborate and apply its proprietary platform and assays and leverage its disease models to screen a broad set of candidates for neurodegenerative disease.

Interested in Learning More?

Please use this form to email Vala, or call today at (888) 742-VALA (8252).