In 2008, the Foundation launched an Anti-Dystonia Drug Discovery Program led by Ellen Hess, PhD. Her team uses behavioral and cellular pharmacology to understand the cellular mechanisms that give rise to hyperactivity. The objective of Dr. Hess’s research is to identify drugs that can either move directly into clinical trial or be put forward for product development by a biotechnological or pharmaceutical company.
In 2012, Dr. Hess reported preclinical data for the mGlu5 negative allosteric modulator (NAM) oral small molecule, dipraglurant, a compound in development by Addex Therapuetics. She plans to make drug screening more widely available to facilitate preclinical testing of other novel anti-dystonia compounds.