Pioneering Delix Therapeutics Study Published in 'Science' Elucidates the Mechanism of Psychedelic-Induced Neuroplasticity
New peer-reviewed paper reveals new findings that can lead to more effective medicines for a range of health conditions
BOSTON, Feb. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Delix Therapeutics (the "Company"), a neuroscience company developing novel disease-modifying, neuroplasticity-promoting therapeutics for psychiatric and neurological conditions, shared the findings of a new study published today in Science. The groundbreaking paper, authored by Delix Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer David E. Olson, PhD, reveals the mechanism that causes serotonin and psychoplastogens to activate the 5-HT2A receptor in different ways.
The paper, developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of California Davis – where Olson was recently named founding director of the Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics – offers unprecedented insight into a long-standing mystery in the field around why serotonin doesn't stimulate cortical neuron growth. The study uncovers the fact that intracellular 5-HT2A receptors mediate the psychoplastogenic effects of psychedelics. As serotonin cannot activate this population of receptors, the study might explain why serotonin-based therapeutics - such as SSRIs, commonly prescribed antidepressants – have different effects than psychedelics and other psychoplastogenic therapeutics.
The discovery represents a major breakthrough for researchers seeking to better understand the target of several classes of psychoplastogens, and ultimately leverage this knowledge in the development of medicines that can more effectively treat patients in need with fewer risks or undesirable side effects. The paper's findings are also particularly fundamental to Delix in its leading work to develop novel psychedelic-inspired, non-hallucinogenic therapeutics that promote rapid and sustained neuroplasticity in the brain, further underscoring the company's pioneering scientific knowledge, talent and advantage in the field of neuroplasticity-promoting drug development.
"Cortical atrophy is a central feature of so many neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, which is why advancing medicines that promote neuroplasticity and neuronal regrowth is so important," said Olson. "For years we've known that both serotonin and psychedelics activate the 5-HT2A receptor, but it was unclear why psychedelics always produced more rapid and sustained effects on structural plasticity and behavior. This latest Science paper reveals that the location of the 5-HT2A receptor is critical for determining the downstream effects of its activation, and we hope to use this information to develop improved therapeutics."
Delix has built a world class team that is rapidly advancing Olson's research, creating a diverse portfolio of more than 2,000 non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens to date. Delix will bring the first of these novel compounds to the clinic this year with the goal to broaden patient access to novel, safe, fast-acting, and long-lasting medicines for a wide range of mental illnesses worldwide.
"We are honored that Science, one of the most well-respected scientific journals in the world, has chosen to detail Delix's scientific approach and research findings. The Delix team continues to advance its unique scientific and talent advantage at the forefront of central nervous system drug development," added Mark Rus, CEO of Delix Therapeutics. "We are continuously developing our understanding of this incredibly complex system in a way that others aren't, and driving forward our strategic hypothesis that non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens are positioned to offer a combination of effective and scalable class of therapeutics available for mental health conditions worldwide."
Delix's neuroplasticity platform with multiple distinct chemical scaffolds inspired by psychedelics, yet devoid of hallucinogenic properties while maintaining psychoplastogenic activity, has the potential to address a range of diseases including depression, substance use disorder, PTSD, cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, neurodegeneration, and other conditions.
In addition to this Science paper, Delix's research has been widely published in such scientific journals as Cell, Nature, Cell Reports, Molecular Psychiatry, Frontiers in Psychiatry, and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The Company was also recognized in Chemical & Engineering News' Top 10 Start-ups to Watch, named to Nature Biotechnology's list of leading spinouts, and included in Fierce Biotech's prestigious "Fierce 15" list.
About Delix Therapeutics
Delix Therapeutics is a neuroscience company focused on harnessing the power of psychoplastogens—novel neuroplasticity-promoting therapeutics—to better treat mental health disorders at scale. The company's compounds are easily manufactured small molecules capable of rapidly inducing structural and functional neural changes in targeted areas of the brain. Many of these molecules are inspired by psychedelic compounds and preserve their efficacy-promoting mechanisms while avoiding their hallucinogenic properties and other safety liabilities. Delix is rapidly advancing these compounds through preclinical and clinical development to bring patients FDA-approved, take-home medicines that will serve several unmet needs. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Delix is building a world-class biotechnology company by combining an experienced team with innovative treatment strategies and scientific rigor to address the significant and growing mental health challenges impacting society.
Retsina Meyer, PhD
KCSA Strategic Communications
SOURCE Delix Therapeutics