U of M Startup Anatomi Corp. Developing Technology to Accelerate Discovery of Neurological Therapeutics

August 28  

The University of Minnesota today announced the recent launch of Anatomi Corp., a startup company based on University technology that promotes the discovery of new treatments for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.

Anatomi, launched by U of M Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center, is developing tools for manufacturing human neurons from stem cells faster and more efficiently. The technology stands to help accelerate pharmaceutical discovery and better leverage the potential of developmental neuroscience across a variety of scientific fields. Anatomi was recently awarded a Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Biobusiness grant to support the technology’s commercialization.

Patrick Walsh and Vincent Truong developed the technology behind Anatomi while performing experimentation in the laboratories of James Dutton, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics, cell biology and development in the College of Biological Sciences and the Stem Cell Institute; and Ann M. Parr, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of neurosurgery in the Medical School and Stem Cell Institute.

“The genesis of many neurological diseases is understood poorly if at all, leaving conditions like Alzheimer’s disease essentially untreatable,” said Walsh, Anatomi’s CEO. “Our technology democratizes the manufacture of human neurons by making the process much more accessible. While we believe this technology has potential to become the gold standard to which all researchers turn, our true goal is to inspire a new generation of scholars to enter the field of neuroscience and discover treatments for devastating and currently untreatable neurological conditions.”

To accurately model neurodegenerative disease processes in a laboratory setting, scientists use lab-grown human neurons. Anatomi’s technology provides a way to make these neurons from the stem cells of diseased patients, allowing scientists to understand how the disease works in a patient-specific way. The manufacturing process requires five to seven days, compared to the 35 days required by the existing process.

“Neurodegenerative diseases are a pressing health challenge, affecting millions of people worldwide and posing a mounting problem for the aging U.S. population,” said Russ Straate, associate director of the Venture Center. “We are excited by the potential of Anatomi’s tools to expedite the development of new treatments for these diseases that could ultimately improve patients’ health and quality of life.”

Anatomi was launched in May and is based in Minneapolis. Visit www.anatomicorp.com to learn more about the company.

Learn more about the University’s startup enterprise, which has launched more than 150 companies since 2006 and now features Discovery Launchpad, a startup incubator for UMN companies, at z.umn.edu/OTCVentureCenter.

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