Grand Rapids-based Tetra Discovery Partners to Develop Drug to Improve Memory


Tetra Discovery Partners, a Grand Rapids-based biotechnology company, is developing a new PDE4B inhibitor drug that improves learning memory ability following a traumatic brain injury.

The PDE4B inhibitor drug helps boost brain function by lessening the breakdown of the cAMP pathway, a key pathway used in cell communication that experiences decreased signaling in the injured brain, says Mark Gurney, president and CEO of Tetra Discover Partners.

Treating rats with the new drug at three months following a traumatic brain injury improves their learning memory ability, says a study in the July edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

In the study, researchers reported that treatment with the PDE4B inhibitor reduced deficits after a traumatic brain injury, which suggests the drug has the potential to improve learning and memory ability and overall functioning.

“This selective PDE4B inhibitor from Tetra Discovery Partners has great promise, restoring the learning and memory performance of (traumatic brain injury) in animals to nearly non-injured levels,” says W. Dalton Dietrich, scientific director of the Miami Project, which is testing the new drug therapy. “We expect that this collaboration with Tetra will yield a new clinical trial using this therapeutic strategy in human (traumatic brain injury) survivors.”

Tetra Discovery Partners is a recipient of a National Institutes of Health Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network cooperative research agreement, and also receives funding through the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health Small Business Innovation Research program.