Verge Genomics Forges Parkinson’s Disease Data Collaborations with the NIH, Scripps, and Dresden University of Technology to Accelerate Preclinical Drug Development

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By combining cutting edge academic research with our expertise in computational genomics, we can improve the understanding of Parkinson's obtained from pre-clinical systems and more quickly get to better drugs for the benefit of patients.


Verge Genomics, a neuroscience therapeutics company utilizing machine learning to accelerate drug discovery, announced today that it has established collaborations with a top university, research institute, and U.S. federal government agency to create a novel Parkinson’s disease data resource aimed at hastening the preclinical development of Parkinson’s drug candidates. Verge will work together with its research partners to generate the world’s largest and most comprehensive foundation of Parkinson’s data, encompassing genomic, biochemical, and phenotypic data from a large sampling of Parkinson’s disease patients. Collaborators include researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health, The Scripps Research Institute, and the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden at the Dresden University of Technology.

The extent to which pre-clinical models of Parkinson’s Disease predict patient disease processes is not well understood and presents a major challenge to successful drug development. Verge Genomics has built one of the largest collections of Parkinson's disease patient genetic and gene expression data. Verge will use its proprietary systems biology platform to mine this data for novel therapeutic targets. This innovative industry-academic collaboration aims to identify the in vitro and in vivo systems that best model the genomic changes in Parkinson's patients to validate drug targets, screen compounds, and accelerate the translation of effective therapies into the clinic.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder involving the malfunction and death of brain neurons. These neurons include those that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, resulting in loss of movement control. Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease. Currently, the only approved treatments address Parkinson’s symptoms but do not prevent the disease nor halt its progression.

“These collaborations will allow us to identify key preclinical models to use in our drug development program for Parkinson's. Instead of relying on characteristics that may have a dubious relationship to the actual disease process, we will identify the systems that best model the molecular aspects of disease predicted by our systems biology platform,” said Alice Zhang, CEO of Verge. “By combining cutting edge academic research with our expertise in computational genomics, we can improve the understanding of Parkinson's obtained from pre-clinical systems and more quickly get to better drugs for the benefit of patients.”

“We are excited about the potential of Verge’s novel technology for our analysis of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived dopamine neurons to be used for autologous cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Jeanne Loring of The Scripps Research Institute.

This is in addition to an ongoing collaborative consortium Verge Genomics is leading in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that includes researchers from the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and Massachusetts General Hospital (

About Verge Genomics
Verge Genomics is a next-generation drug discovery company that is using human genomic data to accelerate the discovery of treatments for neurodegeneration. Founded by scientists from leading neuro-genomics labs, the Verge team is 14 people including 12 Ph.D.’s in machine learning, neuroscience, applied math, biophysics, statistics, and computational biology from UCLA, Stanford, Oxford, UCSF, and the pharmaceutical sector. For additional information, please visit our website at

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Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children.
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