Delix Therapeutics Archives - Green Market Report

Dave HodesJune 2, 2022
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16min6940

The psychedelic experience is intense.

As much as it can help someone understand and work through their mental health issues, the hallucinations that come with them are a significant part of the psychedelics experience that is what makes psychedelics the powerful and effective therapy that it is.

But as the industry evolves and looks to broaden the appeal of psychedelics, work is underway to change or even eliminate the hallucinogenic part of the experience.

To be sure, psychedelics are among the safest known classes of central nervous systems drugs that one researcher says may be the oldest class of psychopharmacological agents known to man.

One new way to modernize them into mainstream medicine use would be to offer a shorter or even absent hallucinogenic effect, which makes for shorter treatment periods and therefore less cost for the patient. That would also make taking psychedelics less risky for both the patient and the medical provider, while also increasing the likelihood of a buy-in from Big Pharmabecause a completely non-hallucinogenic psychedelic could even be taken by a patient at home just like any other pharmaceutical.

Better management or even eliminating the hallucinogenic effectin a clinical trial today could bring in more participants, since vetting potential participants in clinical trials means excludinganyone with a personal or family history of psychotic disordersthat could be exacerbated by the hallucinogenic experience.

Although research has shown that hallucinogens do not cause any physiological damage, adverse issues such as the so-called “bad trip” do occur, characterized by anxiety, fear, panic, and paranoia. This could be a brief experience, or could lead to prolonged psychosis. Researchers are still not sure why or how that happens in some individuals and not others, but reports like this do cause some patients who could benefit from psychedelics therapy to consider a different, more mainstream pharmacological approach.

The range of subjective experience under hallucinogens can be remarkably broad, a study noted, and clinical trial participants need to be made aware that sometimes people experience extremely convincing sensations of dissolving, melting, exploding—and are advised that the best way to deal with all such situations is to surrender to the experience, subjectively allowing themselves to dissolve, melt, or explode.

Surrendering to the experience—simply letting go of their need for experiential avoidanceis not something that people with mental health issues do easily, and in many cases, is an action that becomes totally reliant on where they are and who is monitoring them.

Then there are the cautions about negative interactions with psychedelics from other drugs, such as lithium, and even problematic reactions with dietary supplements like St. John’s Wort.

Work today with strong mind-mining medicines like psychedelics follows a carefully constructed process with strict guidelines to ensure a safe and effective treatment, such asestablishing trust and rapport between session monitors and volunteer before the session; creating a safe physical session environment; and providing interpersonal support from at least two study monitors during the session, according to one study. “Persisting adverse reactions are rare when research is conducted along these guidelines,” the study reported. “Incautious research may jeopardize participant safety and future research.

It’s this “incautious research” issue that is driving a movement to create a non-hallucinogenic psychedelic and find a way of giving the patient the important benefits of hallucinogens without actually experiencing them.

Those specific hallucinogenic benefits in today’s psychedelics-assisted therapy are important, because even in cases where individuals reported strong ratings of fear or anxiety, the majority of these sessions were still judged as personally meaningful, and no volunteer rated the experience as having decreased their sense of wellbeing or life satisfaction.

But participants still had be ready to experience an uncomfortable moment or two, and still had to rely on a monitor to help them understand and ride through those sometimes scary feelings.

For all these reasons, and to help bring more focus to the medicinal side of the psychedelics experience, scientists have begun engineering psychedelics without hallucinogenic qualities.

For example, research on tabernanthalog—a water-soluble, non-hallucinogenic, non-toxic analogue of ibogaine that can be prepared in a single stepdemonstrated that, through careful chemical design, it is possible to modify a psychedelic compound to produce a safer, non-hallucinogenic variant that has therapeutic potential.

Other recent work with mice has shown that its possible to create psilocybin and LSD without the hallucinogenic effect.

Another study with mice used a sensor—called psychLightthat glows in the presence of an hallucinogenic compound when it interacts with a serotonin receptor. It’s been used to identify previously unknown hallucinogenic drugs.

These next generation non-hallucinogenic psychedelics arebeing called a game-changer in psychedelic therapy, with companies such as Delix Therapeutics stepping up to the challenge of developing them. According to David Olson, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Delix, it is important to determine whether or not the molecular and circuit-level mechanisms mediating the hallucinogenic and antidepressant effects of psychedelics are distinct in an effort to better understand the neurobiology of mental illnesses. From a clinical perspective, the implications are huge,” he said in an interview last year for Technology Network’s Neuroscience News and Research publication. While I am very hopeful that compounds like psilocybin will one day be approved for treating depression or perhaps other brain disorders, I suspect that these hallucinogenic molecules will only be used as a last resort for a variety of reasons.”


StaffSeptember 27, 2021
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5min15470

Delix Therapeutics closed on a $70 million Series A financing round.  The company said it expects to use the money to advance two lead candidates through Phase 1 clinical trials, further expand its drug discovery platform of novel neuroplasticity-promoting compounds known as psychoplastogens, and expand its team.

“We appreciate the overwhelming support from new and early investors alike, and continue to attract top neuroscience, chemistry, and biotech talent as we pursue a unique pathway toward treating – and potentially healing – neuropsychiatric conditions in a new way, at scale,” said Mark Rus, Delix Therapeutics CEO. “We’ve made tremendous progress towards developing efficacious and easily manufactured compounds that have the potential to deliver safe, fast-acting, FDA-approved treatments to help patients in need.”

Delix Therapeutics was co-founded by Nick Haft & David E. Olson and was built upon the discovery of Dr. Olson, together with his team at the University of California, Davis, that non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens are capable of producing sustained therapeutic effects. Olson’s research and Delix’s discoveries have been widely published in Cell, Nature, Molecular Psychiatry, Cell Reports, and other leading peer-reviewed scientific publications. Delix has produced nearly 1,000 novel compounds to date, with several potential clinical development candidates identified. Delix said that its improved safety profile, non-hallucinatory efficacy, and simplified manufacturing process of its psychoplastogens make its novel compounds highly scalable and suitable for early use in patients. DLX-1 and DLX-7, the first two development candidates to emerge from Delix, are currently undergoing pre-IND safety and toxicology studies to enable clinical trials to begin in 2022.

Senior Partner of ARTIS Ventures and Delix Board Member Vasudev Bailey said, “Delix is at the forefront of neuroscience with a growing platform of novel compounds, a great team, and a novel approach. Delix has the potential to advance our understanding of neuroplasticity, a core component of psychedelics, and its ability to heal. Through its platform, we see a significant opportunity for Delix to develop next generation therapies, with strong IP protection and the potential to positively impact a range of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions.”

Andrew Levin, Managing Director at RA Capital Management, added, “The healthcare system is in serious need of new and improved neuropsychiatric treatments that are scalable and more accessible than first- or second-generation psychedelics. We have been looking for an optimized scientific approach to achieve this, and believe that Delix’s team, therapeutic strategy, and early lead candidates are on the critical path.”

The round was led by ARTIS Ventures, RA Capital Management, and founding investor OMX Ventures, with participation from a diverse syndicate of life sciences and psychedelic investment funds. Additional investment funds participating in the round include Apeiron, Bail Capital, Casa Verde Capital, Dolby Family Ventures, Negev Capital, Noetic Fund, Ocama Partners, Palo Santo, Presight Capital, PsyMed Ventures, R2, Re.Mind Capital, Saya Bio, Vertical Venture Partners, WPSS, and other leading family investment funds.

“This funding is an important step in transforming our years of scientific research and discoveries into innovative treatments for patients in need,” said Professor David E. Olson, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Delix Therapeutics. “Our preclinical data to-date suggest that our compounds are unlike anything currently in psychiatrists’ arsenals and have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions. Because the Delix platform directly reverses cortical atrophy — the root cause of many brain disorders — we are optimistic that our treasure trove of novel compounds will yield many safe and scalable treatments for improving mental health.”


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