Psychedelic startup launches with $60m and Catalent tech

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© Colin Hawkins / Getty Images
© Colin Hawkins / Getty Images

Related tags: Psychedelic, Catalent, depression

Lusaris Therapeutics receives capital to develop LSR-1019, a potential psychedelic therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

The biotech launched after securing funding through a Series A round that raised $60m (€61.5m) and was led by RA Capital Management. Lusaris has three drug candidates in its pipeline, which are focused on the treatment of severe neuropsychiatric and neurological conditions.

The biotech’s lead prospect is LSR-1019 that is being examined for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and other severe neuropsychiatric disorders. The potential treatment is a sublingual formulation of 5-MeO-DMT.

At the same time as launching, the biotech announced that it had agreed a strategic collaboration with Catalent for the formulation of LSR-1019. Lusaris will utilize Catalent’s Zydis fast-dissolving tablet technology to deliver the drug.

According to Lusaris, the worldwide license to Catalent’s technology for its treatment candidate will allow it to avoid the common issues facing oral administration of this type of drug. When delivered orally, 5-MeO-DMT is pharmacologically inactive due to its rapid metabolism by the enzymes in the gut and liver.

The sublingual tablet form of LSR-1019 dissolves under the tongue within seconds and is absorbed without the need for water. This method of delivery is more scalable, eliminates the need for the drug delivery systems, simplifies administration, and offers the potential for consistent exposure and predictable therapeutic benefit in patients, the company stated.

The aim for the biotech is to launch Phase I clinical studies of LSR-1019 in the short-term, with top-line data expected by mid-year 2023.

Neil Buckley, COO at Lusaris, stated, “With encouraging preclinical data, a proven delivery technology, and an expected rapid and short psychotropic experience, LSR-1019 has the potential to be a transformative treatment for patients suffering from TRD and other serious mood disorders.”

Alongside LSR-1019, the biotech also has LSR-2000 in a late-stage discovery program evaluating serotonergic neuroplastogens for the prevention of migraines and cluster headaches. In addition, LSR-3000 is at the discovery phase for developing therapies suitable for chronic dosing by maintaining broad serotonergic receptor activation.

Lusaris is one biotech in a growing field of companies exploring the potential for hallucinogenic drugs and their potential therapeutic benefits, particularly within neuropsychiatric disorders. Such research led to the creation of a dedicated research institute in Australia, known as the Psychae Institute​, which is a non-profit looking to develop novel psychedelic therapies.

The area is also growing in popularity for investors​, as the science and clinical trial results begin to show the promise of the area.

Related topics: Clinical Development

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