NeuroCog Trials, Inc. announced today the receipt of a Phase 1 Small Business Innovative Research Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to support the development and validation of a novel virtual reality tool that will be used to assess the functional capacity of patients with schizophrenia. Using realistic, virtual environments in a computer game-like program will enable new medicines targeting cognition in schizophrenia to be evaluated in terms of their impact on patients’ ability to successfully navigate the challenges of daily life.

Richard Keefe, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of NeuroCog Trials, said, “We are honored that NIMH has chosen to fund the development of a first-ever ‘virtual-reality’ tool specifically designed to measure functional change in schizophrenia patients. Our goal is that the VRFCAT will be used as a reliable tool in clinical trials to measure changes in functional capacity associated with the effects of cognitive enhancing compounds. We aim to make available a library of different scenarios and difficulty levels so that learning effects as well as ceiling and floor effects, which can reduce the sensitivity of measures to change, are diminished. We think that patients will find this assessment battery more interesting and engaging than traditional measures of functional ability.”

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