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One year PRISM: looking back
SME spotlight
New approaches meeting 2017
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Looking back over the first year

Combined logosOn 30-31 March the PRISM team held its first annual meeting, hosted by Lilly at their Windlesham neuroscience campus in the UK. The team surveyed progress across the eight work packages and reviewed targets for the completion of phase 1. Twenty-three partners, including pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises, participated.

Amongst the important deliverables reported were the completion of the homologous PRISM preclinical and clinical deep phenotyping protocols for assessing social withdrawal, attention, working memory, and sensory processing; the finalisation of the ethical approvals; and the completion of the launch preparations for patient and healthy control recruitment for the clinical deep phenotyping study scheduled to start end of May 2017.

“These are very significant achievements,” said PRISM project co-ordinator Martien Kas, “and show the project is fully on track to deliver on its phase 1 expectations. If we maintain with this momentum, we’ll be in excellent shape to make our case to the IMI for advancement to phase 2.”

A feature in Science covering PRISM’s launch demonstrated the widespread interest in the project and its potential.
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PRISM partners at the annual meeting last March in the UK.

Molecular landscape of social withdrawal: bringing SME innovation to PRISM


Drug Target ID (DTID), an SME partner in PRISM, has pioneered and developed a unique and highly innovative approach to build ‘molecular landscapes’ for complex genetic disorders. In addition to providing insights into the biological processes underlying such disorders, these landscapes reveal novel, disorder-specific diagnostic biomarkers and drug targets (

Recently, two peer-reviewed papers were published about molecular landscapes that were built using this approach: ‘Integrated molecular landscape of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis provides insights into disease etiology’ (Klemann C.J. et al. Brain Pathology, doi: 10.1111/bpa.12485, 2016) and ‘Integrated molecular landscape of Parkinson’s disease’ (Klemann C.J. et al. Nature Partner Journals (npj) Parkinson's disease 3: 14, 2017).

Within the PRISM project and based on available, literature-derived as well as to-be-generated genome-wide genetic, epigenetic and expression data, DTID has now started building a molecular landscape of social withdrawal that will be used to guide other work in PRISM, including the creation and phenotypic testing of mouse models in which selected key genes from the social withdrawal landscape have been genetically modified.

Very recently and together with the Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center - an academic partner in PRISM - we have also published a paper in the high impact journal Molecular Psychiatry about the genetic and biological overlap between autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and autistic traits in the general population (Bralten J. et al. Mol Psychiatry. doi: 10.1038/mp.2017.98, 2017). As ASDs and autistic traits share some features with social withdrawal, the data from this paper will be used for joined genetic analyses together with the to-be-generated genetic data of social withdrawal.

New approaches meeting - March 2017, Nice

New_approaches_meetingECNP’s ‘New approaches to psychiatric drug development’ meeting was held last March in Nice, France. Organised in parallel with the PRISM project, and as part of PRISM dissemination activities, this two-day meeting brought 100 leaders from academia, industry and the regulatory bodies together to tackle the challenge of connecting the clinical management of psychiatric disorders to what is becoming known about the pathophysiology of these conditions.

Prof. dr. Martien Kas co-organised the meeting and provided a seminar on the rational behind the PRISM project. Dr. Hugh Marston gave a lecture in which he introduced social withdrawal, one of the core domains within the PRISM project, and indicated its relevance across neuropsychiatric disorders. At this meeting in Nice, PRISM was perceived as an exemplar project in which a paradigm shift is being introduced paving the road for acceleration of the neuropsychiatric drug discovery process.

Over the course of the meeting, ten experts from around the world presented new perspectives on the connections between the functional processes that underlie psychiatric illness, the increasing number of potential ‘drugable’ CNS targets, and the future of psychiatric drug development and treatment.

Next year’s meeting will focus on neurodevelopmental disorders. Papers from the meeting will be published in European Neuropsychopharmacology.

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The project leading to this application has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 115916. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA.

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