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The lead drug candidate of Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Branford, Conn.-based company focused on therapeutic developments for central nervous system disorders, is the target of a $3 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense to study treatment for Fragile-X syndrome. Fragile X is the biggest cause of mental retardation and a common cause of autism, accordng to the National Institutes of Health.

The grant – awarded to University of California-Davis researchers Randi Hagerman, Michael Rogawski and David Hessl – will be used to test the safety and effectiveness of Marinus’ lead drug candidate, ganaxolone, a synthetic neurosteroid, in treating children with behavioral symptoms similar to those of Fragile X syndrome.

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