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Yale, SCIREX Corp. open unit for psychiatric drug research

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Winter/Spring

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The Department of Psychiatry and SCIREX Corp. have announced a new collaboration to conduct clinical research on potential new drugs for psychiatric disorders. The SCIREX Clinical Research Unit at Yale, which opened Nov. 10 in a 6,000 square-foot facility at 320 Congress Ave., will conduct studies of central nervous system-focused drugs.

"New treatments for psychiatric disorders are desperately needed, and the complexity of drug approval requirements is significant," says Michael Choukas, SCIREX'S president and chief executive officer. "By collaborating with full-time Yale faculty psychiatrists, we hope to speed clinical drug development and potentially reduce the time it takes for new therapeutic discoveries to reach the market."

SCIREX, a contract research organization headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa., performs drug development services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The company will work closely with Yale psychiatry faculty members to plan and conduct central nervous system clinical studies. Faculty expertise centers on basic neuroscience, molecular neurobiology and genetics, neuropsychopharmacology and clinical biological psychiatry. Current research projects concentrate on depression, anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, schizophrenia and substance abuse.

"University medical schools have traditionally been the proving ground for some of the most revolutionary new advances in medical science. Yet over the past decade, health care management and dwindling government dollars have eroded the financial base needed to support this critical work," says Benjamin S. Bunney, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology.

"By working together, we gain not only the freedom to search for new discoveries, but also earlier access to novel therapeutic compounds which could lead to increased understanding of both normal and diseased brain function," he said. "Ultimately, our patients will benefit because our combined efforts may result in decreasing the time it takes for new therapeutic discoveries to reach the market."