Why Psychogenics and Emyria are collaborating to examine MDMA-inspired compounds

CNS-focused contract research organization PsychoGenics has forged a collaboration with clinical-stage biotech Emyria Ltd to study five novel MDMA-inspired drug candidates for severe neuropsychiatric conditions.

Emyria and its partner, the University of Western Australia, will initially screen five novel MDMA analogs with PsychoGenic’s computer vision and AI-based testing platform. The organizations expect the alliance to inform and predict the clinical effects of new drug compounds, including Emyria’s MDMA-inspired library.

PsychoGenics will compare the MDMA-based compounds to known reference drug libraries.

The companies anticipate that the alliance will facilitate the accelerated development of the MDMA-inspired library that holds potential for conditions ranging from Parkinson’s disease to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PsychoGenics and Emyria will work collaboratively before exploring drug discovery and commercializa…

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The CNS drug development drum beat is getting louder

[image courtesy of Pixabay]

The late 1980s and the 1990s were something of a gold rush for pharmaceutical companies focused on CNS drug development — especially those developing psychiatric drugs. In 1988, Eli Lilly introduced the blockbuster SSRI Prozac (fluoxetine), then a new type of antidepressant. Big Pharma companies launched several SSRIs in the years that followed. 

By the end of the 2000s, the rate of development of antidepressants and psychiatric medicines, more broadly, had crawled to a near standstill as Big Pharma companies slashed R&D budgets for CNS drugs and chose to exit the mental health space. “They were facing patent cliffs and had to make some critical decisions,” said Emer Leahy, said CEO of PsychoGenics. 

The tide is now turning. A growing number of well-funded smaller companies with venture backing are emerging in a quest to develop novel psychiatric drugs. “T…

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