An Irish company is to introduce novel sensors that can track levels of chemicals in the brain in real time over the course of weeks or months.
The technology behind the sensors was developed by Prof John Lowry, head of the National University of Ireland's chemistry department.
He has now formed a company, Blue Box Sensors, to commercialise the devices, which can selectively measure specific types of molecule.
The new sensors will, it is claimed, offer fresh insights into the workings of the brain and stand to improve preclinical research and drug discovery for a range of diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and schizophrenia.
According to John Scanlan, director of commercialisation at NUI Maynooth, the commercial potential of the sensor technology is already apparent, with interest being expressed from a number of leading pharmaceutical companies.
Scanlan said: 'The management team we have pulled into Blue Box Sensors has been involved in selling the technologies that this sensor technology will replace. They are close to the market, close to the customers and know the potential.'
The sensor devices will be manufactured in Galway.
Lowry's original research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the commercialisation activity is funded by Enterprise Ireland.