Awakn Life Sciences has appointed neuroscientist and addiction researcher, Professor David Nutt as Chief Research Officer as well as announcing the filing of patent applications in the US for two next-generation novel MDMA-derived new chemical entities.
This executive appointment is driven by the expansion of Awakn’s psychedelic drug and therapy development pipeline targeting addiction. In particular, the identification, and development of several potential new candidates with unique properties to better treat a broad range of addictions, acquired from Nutt’s Equasy Enterprises in March 2021; the licencing of the intellectual property from world’s only Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy trial for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) from the University of Exeter in March 2021. And finally, the world’s only Phase IIb trial for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for AUD.
In this new role, which is in addition to Nutt’s existing role as Chair of Awakn’s Scientific Advisory Board, he will lead Awakn’s neuroscience research of psychedelic compounds for treating a broad range of addictions where the consequences for the patient, their family, and society are at present most severe. Nutt will work closely with Dr. Shaun McNulty, Awakn’s Chief Scientific Officer, who leads Awakn’s Pre-Clinical stage and Clinical stage research and development programmes.
Awakn has also announced the filing of patent applications in the US for two next-generation novel MDMA-derived new chemical entities, AWKN001 and AWKN002, further strengthening Awakn’s intellectual property portfolio and pipeline for the treatment of a broad range of Addictions including, but not limited to alcohol, opioid and behavioural (such as gambling).
Nutt commented: “The candidates we are developing will bring together the best therapeutic characteristics of MDMA, with more rapid onset of activity, and a shorter half-life, in a research space that is undiscovered. These improved candidates will enable us to treat more patients at a reduced cost and with the potential to increase both efficacy and the range of disorders we can treat. This, together with our teams of partner organizations and in-house drug discovery and development experts will enable us to make rapid progress towards treating addiction, a condition with huge unmet medical needs.”
Anthony Tennyson, Awakn’s CEO commented, “Our ambition is to fully integrate effective psychedelic-based treatment into mainstream healthcare to better treat addiction. We are fortunate to have many of the world’s leading researchers, drug discovery experts and preclinical data that all support our vision at Awakn – to provide those with addiction, next-generation psychedelic medicine as a treatment option. Our clinical team has unparalleled experience in treating addiction, and now with the development of a world class psychedelic-drug discovery pipeline, it has strategically placed Awakn as a global leader in this space.”