TESS Research Foundation Announces Grant to Neurolentech in Search of Cure for SLC13A5 Epilepsy.

TESS Research Foundation Announces Grant to Neurolentech in Search of Cure for SLC13A5 Epilepsy.

Menlo Park, California, September 9, 2021

TESS Research Foundation (tessresearch.org) today announced a new research grant award to Neurolentech in the search for a cure for the rare disease SLC13A5 Epilepsy.

The Austrian startup Neurolentech, led by Carsten Pfeffer, PhD and co-founded by Gaia Novarino, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), will receive $224,064 toward research projects that will model SLC13A5 Epilepsy in patient-derived SLC13A5 cells.

SLC13A5 Epilepsy is a rare genetic disorder caused by mutations in the SLC13A5 gene, a gene responsible for transporting citrate. Children with the disease begin having devastating seizures shortly after birth and go on to develop a movement disorder, difficulty speaking, and cognitive delays.

This grant to Neurolentech will continue studies started in 2019 by Dr. Novarino at IST Austria. “We are deeply honored to extend our work on 2D neuronal cultures of SLC13A5 patients. Kim Nye and TESS Research Foundation are role models in the fight for bringing relief to patients with severe neurodevelopmental disorders. Our initial analysis of the co-cultures is both scientifically exciting and promising for deciphering novel treatments,” said Dr. Novarino. Adds Dr. Pfeffer, “A cellular disorder model with a disorder-associated phenotype is a very valuable tool in developing, testing, and validating therapeutic approaches. We feel privileged to work with TESS Research Foundation towards drug development for SLC13A5 Epilepsy and are excited to advance the development of the SLC13A5 disorder model and study its effects, consequences and utility.”

Kim Nye, founder of TESS Research Foundation, said, “As the mother of two children with SLC13A5 Epilepsy, I have watched my children suffer from hundreds of thousands of seizures—something I hope fewer moms will be able to say in the near future as we discover new cures for genetic epilepsy. I am so grateful to our donors who make this work possible.” Adds TESS Scientific Director, Tanya Brown, PhD, “We are thrilled to continue working with Dr. Novarino, Dr. Pfeffer, and their team at Neurolentech. They truly understand the urgency of our families’ need for better treatments and cures.”


TESS Research Foundation is the only organization in the world solely dedicated to SLC13A5 Epilepsy. Our mission is to improve the lives of those affected by SLC13A5 Epilepsy by accelerating research. We are determined to diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure SLC13A5 Epilepsy. We do this by funding cutting-edge research and connecting families, doctors, and researchers. We are a registered 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity. For more information, visit tessresearch.org.


Neurolentech GmbH develops cellular disorder models for drug development and diagnostics focusing on Autism and Epilepsy, neurodevelopmental disorders with a huge unmet medical need and large burden on patients, families and society. Neurolentech’s precision medicine platform approach combines the generation of patient- and disorder-specific models with several molecular and physiological analysis technologies that will allow the directed development and validation of novel drugs and therapeutics. Neurolentech GmbH was founded by Carsten Pfeffer, Gaia Novarino, Christoph Bock, together with IST Austria. It is supported by funds from the Austrian promotional bank (AWS).

For more information, contact Kim Nye: kim@tessfoundation.org