A January 28th posting by Gerson Lehrman Group:
This article will explore RG1678, a new schizophrenia drug from Roche.
RG1678 (molecular structure pictured) is a new compound under investigation by Roche for the treatment of schizophrenia. It is a unique drug in that it targets the negative symptoms of schizophrenia such as apathy and social withdrawal. The currently available medications for schizophrenia usually target the positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Another very interesting thing about RG1678 is its mechanism of action. It acts as a glycine reuptake inhibitor which normalizes glutamate neurotransmission by increasing synaptic levels of glycine. Elevation of extracellular synaptic glycine concentration by blockade of GlyT1 has been hypothesized to potentiate NMDA receptor function and may represent a new approach for the treatment of schizophrenia and cognitive disorders. Namenda is another drug which also works at the NMDA receptor to affect cognitive function.
RG1678 is currently in Phase 3 studies at Roche and the early results look very promising. Side effects to date have been mild and include anxiety and dose dependent mild elevation of hemoglobin. RG1678 may represent a fresh approach to the treatment of a difficult and debilitating illness.
By Gregg L. Friedman MD, Hallandale Beach, FL