Preclinical PTSD Working Group Meeting

Meeting Overview

Cohen Veterans Bioscience held its first Preclinical PTSD Working Group meeting in Hollywood, Florida on December 5, 2015. This event was co-chaired by Dr. Kerry Ressler, Chief Scientific Officer at McLean Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Magali Haas, CEO of Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The Cohen Veterans Bioscience Preclinical Working Group is designed to bring together world-leading clinical researchers and preclinical scientists from academia and industry with the goal of informing Cohen Veterans Bioscience’s preclinical development strategy.

This first Working Group meeting addressed the challenge that, while well-validated and standardized animal models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can enhance our understanding of disease and inform therapeutic development, many therapeutics that show promise in preclinical animal models fail to elicit predicted effects when tested in humans. This meeting explored the relationship between clinical phenotypes of PTSD and animal model constructs, discussing what constitutes a useful translation model system, particularly in the context of R&D decision making. The primary objectives of the meeting were to (1) understand current PTSD clinical constructs, (2) present an overview of PTSD underlying biology and preclinical animal models, (3) understand the pharmaceutical perspective on model systems, and (4) identify core opportunities for research investment.

Based on discussion generated by the Preclinical Working Group, the primary goals moving forward are to develop a roadmap for: (1) defining and mapping the endophenotypes that should be analyzed in preclinical animal models, (2) selectively prioritizing which of the animal models should be used to develop SOPs, and (3) identifying mechanisms for best disseminating these standardized models and procedures to the research community. The next major step for the group is planning a series of formal workshops that will include key experts in animal modeling and clinical research and at which findings from this Preclinical Working Group Meeting will be advanced while prioritizing specific endophenotypes and models, as well as bringing together expertise in PTSD and TBI.