CoMentis Committed to Finding a Treatment

With its joint venture Alpharmagen, CoMentis is targeting schizophrenia through modulation of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Our programs in α7 agonism and positive allosteric modulation (PAM) offer two ways to target this receptor and treat the negative symptoms of the disease, which currently have no approved treatments.

For more information on schizophrenia, please see below from

The Disease

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder and it is one of the most common psychotic disorders with approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. and 24 million worldwide having schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is characterized by “positive” symptoms, extra feelings or behaviors that are not usually present, such as hallucinations and delusions, and “negative” symptoms, a lack of feelings or behaviors that are normally present, including apathy, social withdrawal, attention and memory problems. There is no known single cause of schizophrenia and currently available drugs treat only the positive symptoms of the disease. It has been shown that regions of the brain responsible for sensory gating in schizophrenic patients are deficient in the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Indeed, partial agonists, or drugs that increase the function of the α7 nAChR, have shown promise in clinical trials.

Schizophrenia is found all over the world. The severity of the symptoms and long-lasting, chronic pattern of schizophrenia often cause a high degree of disability. Medications and other treatments for schizophrenia, when used regularly and as prescribed, can help reduce and control the distressing symptoms of the illness. However, some people are not greatly helped by available treatments or may prematurely discontinue treatment because of unpleasant side effects or other reasons. Even when treatment is effective, persisting consequences of the illness – lost opportunities, stigma, residual symptoms, and medication side effects – may be very troubling.

The first signs of schizophrenia often appear as confusing, or even shocking, changes in behavior. Coping with the symptoms of schizophrenia can be especially difficult for family members who remember how involved or vivacious a person was before they became ill. The sudden onset of severe psychotic symptoms is referred to as an “acute” phase of schizophrenia. “Psychosis,” a common condition in schizophrenia, is a state of mental impairment marked by hallucinations, which are disturbances of sensory perception, and/or delusions, which are false yet strongly held personal beliefs that result from an inability to separate real from unreal experiences. Less obvious symptoms, such as social isolation or withdrawal, or unusual speech, thinking, or behavior, may precede, be seen along with, or follow the psychotic symptoms.

Some people have only one such psychotic episode; others have many episodes during a lifetime, but lead relatively normal lives during the interim periods. However, the individual with “chronic” schizophrenia, or a continuous or recurring pattern of illness, often does not fully recover normal functioning and typically requires long-term treatment, generally including medication, to control the symptoms.


For additional resources, see National Institute of Mental Health website,