NeuroValida is a breakthrough drug validation platform

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What is Neurovalida?

Neurovalida was developed by Professor Mike Dragunow, Professor Richard Faull and Associate Professor Maurice Curtis with a vision of improving drug target validation as a means of accelerating drug development for people suffering from brain disorders. It is situated in the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland in conjunction with Auckland UniServices, Auckland, New Zealand.

The techniques

NeuroValida is a breakthrough drug validation platform that combines the use of high throughput methodology to establish the localisation of putative drug targets in well characterised adult human brain tissues and live cells. 

NeuroValida employs the use of human brain tissue microarray by which we produce slides containing up to 60 regions of interest (or 60 cases) for drug discovery or validation purposes. 

The tissue available for constructing tissue microarrays is from the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank. 

Our tissue is well characterized and the pathology has been verified independently by a board certified pathologist and additionally our brain tissues are currently undergoing exome sequencing, thus rich genetic data sets are available.

Centre for Brain Research

The University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research maintains the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Human Brain Bank, and as part of that service, we have the privilege and mandate to work with scientists and companies to develop new therapies to delay, treat or prevent neurodegeneration.  

The Brain Bank, established in 1993, currently stores over 600 human brains (with detailed clinical and family histories). The principal aim of the Brain Bank is to advance the development of treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. 

The tissue is stored after being fixed in formalin or as fresh tissue and each brain is dissected according to specific protocols to ensure that precise structures and regions of the brain can be studied. 

Our Brain Banking protocol has been published in several high ranking journals such as Nature Protocols (Waldvogel et al 2007).

We also have access to 100s of lines of human brain pericytes for testing CNS drug efficacy and mode of action.

Disease specialisation

We produce tissue microarrays focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Motor Neurone disease. 

For each of these disorders we have matched neurologically normal controls and can provide other data on disease-specific markers. 

For example, our Alzheimer’s arrays have data on loads for tau, amyloid, microglia, astrocytes, etc. 

This means that we can correlate proteins of interest with key pathological features of neurodegenerative diseases. 

As required, we can also include a selection of appropriate animal brain cores in each array to reference concurrent research activities performed by our clients and partners.

Auckland UniServices

Auckland UniServices is the innovation broker between your company and the intellect of the University of Auckland, responsible for research-based consultancy partnerships, designed education programmes and technology transfer. 

Over the last twenty years, 14 compounds have entered clinical trials that were discovered at the University of Auckland with many in Oncology. Over that time Auckland UniServices have raised over $100M for several biotechnology start-up companies from The University. 

The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland has 13,000 staff and postgraduate students involved in fundamental and applied research. It generates around $230 million in annual research revenue. It has with a strong international focus with a ranking of among the world's top 100 universities with a ranking of 74 in Life Sciences and Biomedicine by the Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings.