Awakn Life Sciences receives UK backing for ketamine therapy  

Biotechnology company Awakn Life Sciences has received funding from Innovate UK to help it advance its ketamine-assisted therapy programme to market in the UK and US.  

Awakn Life Sciences has developed a ketamine-assisted therapy programme for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). The company plans to work with clinical research organisation (CRO) Veristat to deliver its programmes.  

The company’s lead programme, Project Kestrel, is supported by data from a Phase IIb clinical trial which showed an increase in abstinence in patients who received ketamine-assisted therapy, alongside a reduced risk or relapse.1

Official comments  

Awakn’s Chief Scientific Officer, Shaun McNulty said: “Our Phase II a/b ‘KARE’ study, led by Professor Celia Morgan, showed that ketamine-assisted therapy has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of AUD.  This funding enables Awakn, working closely with Veristat, to bring a much-needed effective treatment approach to the market as soon as possible.  Delivering this innovative therapeutic approach as rapidly as possible to patients in the UK and the US is critical to address this major unmet medical need.” 

Anthony Tennyson Awakn’s CEO added: “Securing these funds from Innovate UK is a major endorsement of our efforts and approach to developing new and effective treatments for addictions.  Our Lead program has all the right components to make a lasting difference for the very significant number of people who are suffering from AUD.   We are also delighted to be working with a partner of the calibre of Veristat and to have the ability to benefit from their significant expertise. The addiction treatment market opportunity is, unfortunately, large and growing, and Awakn is uniquely positioned to offer proven therapeutics supported by data to sufferers for whom the current standard of care is inadequate and relapse rates are unacceptably high.” 

Awakn Life Sciences now plans to achieve regulatory approval for the programme in the UK and US. The company is currently planning a Phase III trial in the UK to bolster the data for Project Kestrel.  

Awakn has also applied for a grant to the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in the UK to cover two-thirds of the cost of the planned UK Phase III trial. 



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