Pharma News

Woman of the Week: Genetika+’s Talia Cohen Solal

Welcome to the Woman of the Week podcast, a weekly discussion that illuminates the unique stories of women leaders who are catalyzing change throughout the life sciences industry. You can check out all our podcast episodes here.

As more companies begin to take a precision health approach to tackle depression, Genetika+ is setting itself apart from the pack with technology aimed at targeting the right drug for the right patient, Talia Cohen Solal, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said.

“We’re capturing much more than just baseline genetics. We understand what a depression drug is doing to the brain in real life. That’s the plus,” she said.

The company’s proprietary blood test evaluates SNP, single nucleotide polymorphisms, to determine how quickly the liver metabolizes certain drugs, which allows physicians to prescribe any of the 70 depression medicines currently available with greater accuracy. And in a disease area that affects more than 300 million people worldwide, with a 37% increase every decade, the implications of the test could be profound.

“If someone rapidly metabolizes a drug, it may be out of their system before their brain even has the chance to see that medication,” Cohen Solal said. “There are around 70 different depression drugs and combinations available for physicians to choose from, and no patient can tolerate trying each one of them. So, we already know without developing any new drugs, there is the opportunity to practice precision medicine using our blood test.”

In addition to the blood test, Cohen Solal is focusing on Genetika+’s “brain-in-a-dish” technology, which is based on the 2006 Nobel Prize-winning stem cell technology.

“We’re making frontal cortical brains — the brain region most implicated in mental illness and depression,” Cohen Solal said. “Building a brain-in-a-dish for every patient is challenging and has typically been done more slowly and at a low throughput level. But it’s becoming a tool of the future and we are riding this wave of iPSC technology (induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) as it becomes more widespread. And at Genetika+, we’ve specifically been focusing on the scalability of this platform. We’ve adapted (a test that has) typically been run using a couple of patient’s cells into hundreds of patient’s cells at one time. That’s part of our know-how and part of our trade secret to do this at scale.”

Genetika+ was born out of the work Cohen Solal and co-founder Daphna Laifenfeld were doing while working on their Ph.D.s in the area of mental illness and understanding underlying causes of brain diseases.

“I saw the opportunity to bring this into the commercial space … and bring precision medicine to the brain space,” she said.

While depression is the company’s first target, Genetika+ has ambitious goals and is looking into personalized medicine solutions for other psychiatric and neurological diseases as well.

“As more drugs become available in the neurology space and as the strength of our platform grows, we will also start to target neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, all of which have cellular models,” Cohen Solal said.

In this episode of the Woman of the Week podcast, Cohen Solal details how she and her team are bringing the company’s groundbreaking brain-in-a-dish technology to influence patients today, lessons learned as a first-time CEO and how her “never afraid to fail” mindset has the company on a trajectory for success.

Welcome to WoW, the Woman of the Week podcast by PharmaVoice, powered by Industry Dive.

In this episode, Taren Grom, editor-in-chief emeritus at PharmaVoice meets with Talia Cohen Solal, CEO, founder, Genetika+.

Taren: Dr. Cohen Solal, welcome to the WoW podcast program.

Talia: Thank you very much, delighted to be here.

Taren: Talia, what led you and your co-founder to found Genetika+ and what is the origin of the company’s name? I’m so curious.

Talia: Well, both my co-founder Dr. Laifenfeld and myself have dedicated our careers to better understanding mental illness. We both did PhDs in mental illness and then went on to postdoctoral studies to further understand the underlying causes of diseases of the brain. And while working in these spaces, I was in academia still when I saw the opportunity to bring precision medicine into current day treatment. We were starting to use precision medicine tools in drug discovery. In cell biology discovery, we’re starting to build models of individuals and I saw the opportunity to bring this into the commercial space instead of just academic spaces and my co-founder, Dr. Laifenfeld saw this also. She was the head of precision medicine at Teva Pharmaceuticals. And with her background in neuroscience, we were wonderful forced to come together to try and bring precision medicine to the brain space.

Source link
#Woman #Week #Genetikas #Talia #Cohen #Solal

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *