Ayahuasca inspires another biotech startup at ATAI; Mylan TB drug gets green light in India
→ We have one more startup to add to the list before we call it a day. ATAI Life Sciences, which likes to dabble with psychedelics in developing new therapies, has another mind bender in the works. They’ve kickstarted a new company to delve into formulations of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) —the active ingredient in ayahuasca — for new drugs to use in the mental health field. DMT acts as a partial agonist on a variety of 5-HT receptors, they say, which makes it a good candidate for patients not attracted to the potent brew featured on certain South American journeys. “These novel products are expected to simplify in-clinic administration and allow greater pharmacokinetic control of the psychedelic experience and its overall duration,” said Srinivas Rao, chief scientific officer of ATAI. “Patients may even be able to attend psychotherapy sessions later the same day.”
→ Mylan has received the green light from regulators in India for its tuberculosis drug pretomanid. It’s only the third treatment for drug-resistant forms of the disease to be approved in more than 40 years, following J&J’s bedaquiline and Otsuka’s delamanid. India accounts for roughly 25% of the world’s tuberculosis cases, and Covid-19 has raised fears that previous efforts to curtail TB will be hampered. The WHO said in May that an additional 1.4 million people could die from TB within the next five years as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
→ The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation has sealed several partnerships with Roche, Shionogi, J&J’s Janssen and Eisai to launch a biobank sharing program. Part of the Diagnostics Accelerator, the initiative aims to develop better biomarker tests by analyzing blood and cerebral spinal fluid specimens from Alzheimer’s patients in earlier clinical trials.
→ The Ohio State University has spun a company out of Zhiwei Hu’s lab, providing the seed funding to run more preclinical studies and scale up manufacturing for his next-generation tissue factor (TF) immunotherapies targeting triple-negative breast cancer, among others. CincyTech, a local fund in Cincinnati, led the financing for Eikonoklastes Therapeutics, which is run by former Myonexus exec Bruce Halpryn.