ATAI Life Sciences and Cyclica launch joint venture to revolutionize drug development for mental health disorders
BERLIN and TORONTO, Nov. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- ATAI Life Sciences AG, a global biotech platform that envisions an end to mental illnesses, and Cyclica Inc., a leading biotechnology company that leverages artificial intelligence and computational biophysics to streamline the drug discovery process, have launched a joint venture aimed at changing the paradigm in which mental health disorders are treated.
Entheogenix Biosciences Inc, the Delaware-based company jointly-founded as part of the venture, will leverage Cyclica's proprietary technology to design and synthesize new compounds from psychoactive seed small molecule compounds (SMCs) with the aim of addressing unmet medical needs in mental healthcare, such as those posed by depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
"The scale and complexity of the worldwide mental health crisis requires us to be more targeted in our search for effective therapies," said Florian Brand, CEO, ATAI Life Sciences. "Entheogenix will use state-of-the-art technology to identify the most promising candidates for drug development quickly and precisely."
Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and a broad spectrum of other mental ailments are complex disorders that involve multiple pathogenic factors. For these disorders, current therapies that rely on single-targeted drug interventions often fall short. Patients are then required to take multiple medications, leading to "drug cocktails" that may present potential safety issues or reduce medication adherence. Given that many of the most effective drugs achieve their therapeutic impact by modulating multiple protein targets, a reliable way of comprehensively designing novel lead compounds with desired biological activity and ADMET properties is critical to quickly and economically develop drugs that are safer and more efficacious.
Cyclica offers Ligand Design and Ligand Express, a unique AI-augmented end-to-end drug discovery platform. Ligand Design will be used to design advanced lead-like molecules that achieve preferred physicochemical, pharmacokinetic, and polypharmacological activity and properties, while Ligand Express will be used to provide a holistic understanding of a molecule's off-target activity, while offering insights into systems biology and structural pharmacogenomics. This will allow researchers to visualize the complete polypharmacological profile of a compound and specially tailor drugs to target specific disease pathways related to mental health – all while mitigating off-target interactions.